Resources for Hope

He made a way for us to come home.

He made a way for us to come home

I have begun to get a lot of requests for ‘additional reading’ in relation to our sermon series.  Our small groups have been invigorating and the conversations after Sunday worship have been encouraging.  We are attempting to tie up some of the loose ends that got introduced in our series on Creation and Fall in the autumn.  We have seen what becomes of marriage, of temptation, of evil, and God’s desire to be with us in the garden.

Our belief about how the story ends and what’s next controls how we live now.  Our belief about the future controls how we live in the present.  So we need to have a robust understanding of what comes next so that we can be the kind of people we want to be now.

This idea is not original to me and the most insightful things you hear in my sermons are usually crafted by someone else.  If you are looking for some additional reading about ‘what’s next’, here are my favs:

Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright  Part 2 in this book is called ‘God’s Future Plan’ and it unpacks all the things we are wondering about with Jesus, new creation, new bodies, purgatory, judgment, hell, and heaven.  Part 1 and 3 are also very good, but if you are looking for a scintillating 100 pages, part 2 is a home run.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  This book is even longer than N.T. Wright’s, but it’s not longer with fluff, it’s longer with meat.  It goes into more detail (what happens to pets?) and more depth on these questions.  I loved his stuff on what happens to the first heaven and earth.  It was really helpful for my ‘No More’ sermon.  Alcorn brings together the theologians who have been most influential in my understanding of amilleniallism (the already and the not yet) and applies there rigorous thinking to these pertinent questions.

Reversed Thunder by Eugene Peterson.  Here is the pastor I most want to be, but most frequently fall short of his vision.  Peterson prays through the entire book of Revelation and lets it shape how he talks to God.  Then he writes it down as a gift to you, me, and the church.  This is a book that I mull over and journal about and allow to lead me into worship.

Hope these resources help.  I love that Restoration is a church of life-long learners who want to go deeper.  May these resources be a gift to you as we finish up this series over the next couple of weeks.

-David

No More.

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February 9, 2014 – David Hanke

Revelation 21:1-7 / Psalm 112 / John 14:1-7

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

It really is good news

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February 2, 2014 – David Hanke

Luke 10:17-24 / Psalm 27 / Revelation 19:11-16

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

Janus

Janus

Janus is a great word (and a great backpack).  In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of doors and passageways.  He was depicted with a face on opposite sides of his head.  He looked forward and backward.

A janus is a transition point.  It’s a place where you look back and you look forward.

Restoration is at a janus.  We are five years in to this life together.  On January 25, 2009 we gathered for the first time in corporate worship.  5 years in, we are no longer a ‘church plant’.  We are about to have a multi-million dollar facility that we need to steward.  We have a critical mass of people who want to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus, who want to find friendship, who want to serve those who are most vulnerable.  We are grateful for what has happened.

And we are anticipating what God will do in the next five years.  We look backward and give thanks for God’s great faithfulness to us.  We look forward with excitement about the thousands of lives who will intersect with our church in the years to come.

Our new vestry will meet for the first time tonight.  They gather on the 4th tuesday of every month.  This first one is always special as we get to know each other and figure out how the meetings will flow.  We usually spend 4 hours together–  starting with dinner, reading the Scriptures, praying for Restoration, working through business, and closing with Thanksgiving.  The meetings are intense but the minutes fly by.  I am grateful for how hard this team works.

On Friday, the vestry will slip away for our annual 24 hour retreat.  We have spent almost 8 months working on a strategic plan for the next season of Restoration’s life and we are praying for clarity as we finish this document.  Would you pray for unity around a North-Star-like goal that will guide our plans as we seek to face the critical issues that face Restoration.

We can’t wait to update you on this plan at our parish meeting on March 2, after our 5pm service.  Please make plans to be there.

Give thanks to God for janus moments, for a strong vestry, and for a church that has been faithful in our first five years and is excited about the years to come.

-David

The Kingdom of God has come near

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January 26, 2014 – David Hanke

Revelation 20:1-10 / Psalm 27 / Luke 10:1-11,17-20

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

The Lord of the Party

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January 19, 2014 – David Hanke

Revelation 19:1-10 / Psalm 40 / John 2:1-11

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

Fear to Courage

Parting the Red Sea

On Tuesday night, men from Restoration gathered for our monthly, ManUp where we have been talking about our character.  We begin with a 20 minute lecture on the topic, then time in small groups to talk about it, then a 3 person panel shares their personal stories about how they have been growing in this area.  We’ve had 3 of these evenings and each one has resulted in significant conversations.

Last night we talked about courage.  Someone asked on the feedback cards:

Ok, courage is good.  Check.  Now how do you move from fear to courage?

That’s a great question.

Quick refresher on our working definitions of courage:

  1. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.
  2. Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief.
  3. Courage is doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.

Here is how the stories from our panelists answered the question–  how do we move from fear to courage.

We don’t.  In every story that was shared last night, no one stopped being afraid.  In Exodus 14, when God had Israel backed up at the Red Sea with the Egyptians bearing down on them, He made a singular way for them to be rescued.  God parted the Red Sea and said, ‘Tell the people of Israel to move forward.’  There is no way they stopped being afraid.  Walking through those walls of water was the only way they were going to be saved, but I am sure they were terrified.  Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.  But the fear doesn’t go away.

We make a decision to do what feels terrifying.  So one panelist asked someone to marry him.  Another panelist quit his job and started his own business.  Another panelist drove to his parent’s house to have a conversation with his Dad.  None of those men stopped being afraid.  But all of them had a moment of courage when they said, ‘I will do this.’  For each of them, there was a pre-decision that helped to ‘lock them in’ to the decision.  For example, one guy called his parents so that they would be expecting him (and so he couldn’t just drive around skipping the conversation).  God gives us the strength we need for the decision we have to make.  He makes a way and invites us to trust Him, to depend on His Holy Spirit, to TAKE IT.  We don’t stop being afraid.

We put people around us.  Each of the men who shared last night talked about the role that their small group, their spouse, their friends played in bolstering their courage.  None of us can be the kind of people we want to be on our own.  We need folks who encourage us, pray for us, and tell us to obey the convictions of the Holy Spirit.  Thankfully, in our church those kind of people are easy to access.  Are you in a small group?  They all start on January 19.

Next month we will ManUp about sex.  February 11.  You won’t want to miss it.

I am very grateful for the men in our church.  God is doing good work in them.

-David

Eager to Go

A Satellite View of Rivers And Tributaries

January 12, 2014 – David Hanke

Romans 1:8-15 / Psalm 29 / Matthew 28:16-20

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

The Hinge of History

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January 5, 2014 – David Hanke

Matthew 2:1-12 / Psalm 84 / Romans 1:1-7

Listen to Sunday’s songs here.

Happy New Year!

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I’m a guy who likes to look back and to look forward, to review and to plan.  I appreciate the opportunities to read back through my journal, to remember what I was feeling, to wonder if any growth or change has really happened.  🙂

I hope you get a few minutes in these opening hours of 2014 to give thanks and to dream.  At dinner last night, my family talked about the things that happened in 2013 that we want to KEEP doing in 2014 and we talked about the things that happened that we want to STOP doing.  Keepers are things that enabled us to talk and be together.  Stoppers included ‘when Daddy is grumpy.’

Where does your imagination go as you dream about 2014?  What are you asking your Heavenly Father to do in you?  What are you looking forward to?  What are the dates you have already circled because they will be hard or full or joy?  Can you find an hour to take a walk with Jesus and tell him your hopes and fears?  Can you steal away for a bit to write in your journal the things you are anticipating for the year to come?

Here are the categories I think through at this time of year:

  • My companionship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit:  Last year I used the Mc’Cheyne Daily Reading Plan.  I coupled it with D.A. Carson’s devotional on the readings, For the Love of God.  Like I said, I need a plan and it really helps me to wake up and have a clear plan for what I need to read that day.  Kept me on track.  You can get both the Mc’Cheyne reader and the Carson devotionals for free in one place right here.  Works really well on an ipad.
  • Financial:  Was I as generous as I could be in 2013?  Are there any budget categories that I can practice the discipline of restraint and simplicity–  because it is good for my soul?  Any places of spending that are really out of control? Did I stick to my budget (do you have a budget?) in 2013?
  • Exercise:  I enjoy exercising with folks.  I have a few races I like to do each year.  I have some mileage goals and pace goals.  For me, it is the 30-60 minutes a day that puts my brain ‘somewhere else’.  Every time I go for a run, I ask God to give me one good idea–  and He is really faithful.  My best ideas have come when I am gasping for air at the end of some run.  I need a goal to get me out of bed.  It’s too easy to just jump in to email or work or rolling over and going back to sleep.
  • Relational:  What are the significant events in the life of my family this year?  How will I create space around them to be present?  What is the daily, weekly, and quarterly time I need to be ‘just with Laurel’?  (yes, we have to plan all 3!)  What are my prayer goals for my children?  What kind of help will my parents need?   Which part of my character do I want to see the most growth?
  • Vocational:  for me, this is about Restoration.  I am thinking about moving in to our new building.  I am excited about our 2 trips to Asia Minor and the visit we will receive from on our partners there.  I am dreaming about the beginnings of church planting in partnership with our diocese.  I am excited about telling the story of redemption and restoration to follow on the chapters of creation and fall.  I think we are going to have some terrific small groups this year.  So how do I need to pray?  What do I need to learn?  What do I need to write?  Who do I need to talk with and get to know?  What will be the consistent topics that come out in my speaking and preaching?
  • What are the things that I ‘never got to’ but really want to have in my life?  Anything I can do to make them a reality this year?  For me this includes some house projects, music, language, and backpacking.  Can you and I create some–  ‘it’s really important but I never have time’ time?

Happy New Year my friends.  I am so grateful that I get to live this next one with you.

-David

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