Recommended Resources for Fall Sermon Series

This past Sunday, we launched our new Fall sermon series, where we are addressing the question, “Does Faith in God make sense for thinking people today?”

As we spend the next several weeks exploring this important topic, we want to recommend several books and other resources that you might find helpful as you explore this question further.

Recommended Reading: 


 

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Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion

by Rebecca McLaughlin 

Channeling state-of-the-art research, personal stories, and careful biblical study, Confronting Christianity explores 12 questions that keep many of us from considering faith in Christ. Look more closely, McLaughlin argues, & the reality of suffering, the complexity of sexuality, the desire for diversity, the success of science, and other seeming roadblocks to faith become signposts. Jesus becomes not a relic from  the ancient world, but our modern world’s best hope (238 pages)

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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

by Tim Keller

Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics, and even ardent believers, have about religion. Using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and potent reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. (293 pages)

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Making Sense of God: Finding God in the Modern World

by Tim Keller

In this thoughtful book, Keller invites skeptics to consider that Christianity is more relevant now than ever. As human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives. (336 pages). 

Note – This is an advanced level text.

 

Other Helpful Books: 


 

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The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, and the Hope of Holy War

by Joshua Ryan Butler

There are some questions no Christian wants to be asked. Many today believe hell, judgment and holy war are “skeletons in God’s closet,” tough topics that, if looked at closely, would reveal a cruel, vindictive tyrant rather than a good and loving God. And we aren’t comfortable with the answers we’ve been given. In this book, Butler pulls these bones out into the open to exchange popular caricatures for the beauty and power of the real thing. (356 pages)

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Why Believe: Reason and Mystery as Pointers to God 

by C. Stephen Evans

C. Sephen Evans, a philosopher from Baylor University, has written a pointed and personal book directed to those who want to have faith but whose thinking has been obscured by the static of prevailing philosophies, illuminating the attraction and reasonableness of Christianity. (168 pages) 

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Is the Bible Intolerant? Sexist? Oppressive? Homophobic? Outdated? Irrelevant?

by Amy Orr-Ewing

Amy Orr-Ewing, who is is a senior vice president with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, discusses questions old and new that challenge the Bible’s capacity to speak to us with authority. With a fresh voice and a healthy respect for the Bible’s critics, she presents a compelling case for the Bible’s trustworthiness.(143 pages)

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Is Believing in God irrational?

by Amy Orr-Ewing

Amy Orr-Ewing addresses key questions and objections that many people today have about God. She explores whether our understanding of God is delusional or merely a psychological crutch, as many today claim, and whether Christianity’s claim to a unique personal relationship with God is plausible. (142 pages)

Websites & Podcasts: 

  1. The ReGeneration Project 

The ReGeneration Project exists to encourage church leaders and new generations, equipping them with ways to respond to the difficult questions being asked today about theology, the Bible, church and Christianity in general. This website includes helpful articles, video’s, and podcasts.

  1. Ravi Zacharias Ministries

This website includes several helpful resources that provide thoughtful answers to difficult answers from Ravi Zacharias and his associates.

2nd Sunday Supper at Rocklands – Sun, Sept. 8 @ 6:30 PM

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This coming Sunday PM, September 8, there is a group of us who will be going to Rocklands BBQ (3471 Washington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201) after the 5 PM service. We will connect around 6:30 PM at Rocklands for an informal time of food and fellowship. Look for us up on the 2nd floor of the restaurant!

We would love to have you join us!

Questions?

Contact Nathan Dickerson at nathan@restorationarlington.org

Adult Confirmation is Coming!

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On Sunday, June 9, Bishop John Guernsey is coming to visit our congregation to confirm people in our congregation. You might be wondering what Confirmation is all about, why it is helpful, and how you might participate in confirmation. 

What is Confirmation?

“After making a mature commitment to my baptismal covenant with God, I receive the laying on of the bishop’s hands with prayer.” (ACNA Catechism, Question 118)

“Confirmation is the rite through which we make a public declaration of our faith in Jesus Christ and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live out that faith in our lives and in the context of our church community. 

When the bishop confirms you, he asks you to reaffirm the covenant of your baptism; then he lays hands on you and prays that the Holy Spirit would strengthen, empower, and sustain you. In many ways it’s pretty simple. It’s also very powerful.” Rev. Erin Bair

Why is Confirmation helpful?

“In confirmation, God strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit in me for his daily increase in my Christian life and ministry.” (ACNA Catechism, Question 119)

3 Good Reasons to be Confirmed:

    • To Get Connected. Join the global and historic body of Christ, through the Anglican Communion, and identify with the larger company of saints. The Anglican Communion is a rich, global mosaic, comprised of may tribes, tongues, and nations. It is a church exploding with new life in many areas of the world.
    • To Be Blessed. Receiving the laying on of hands from our Bishop and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life. Since the early church, leaders were commissioned for ministry by the laying on of hands, one generation to the next, all the way down to our Bishop, and then to you.
    • To Confirm your Baptismal Vows. If you were baptized as an infant, this is an opportunity to present yourself publicly as a follower of Christ in the company of his people, or renew your vows (if you were baptized later in life).

How can I be Confirmed?

    • If you would like to be confirmed, we are hosting a 3 week class (May 12, May 19, and June 2) on Sunday evenings to prepare for the confirmation service on Sunday, June 9. This class is a requirement to be confirmed.
    • Contact Nathan Dickerson at nathan@restorationarlington.org to register for this class.

Want to Learn More about Confirmation?

Upcoming Weekend with Regent Professor Darrell Johnson (April 4-7)

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We have an exciting opportunity that is coming in just a few weeks! Along with another local church (Church of the Ascension), we are hosting a weekend with Regent College (Vancouver) Professor Darrell Johnson. He will be here in Northern Virginia from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7.

Here a few great opportunities for you to engage with him:

  1. Public Speaking Seminar – Thursday, April 4, 7-9 PM

People say they fear public speaking even more than death… we’d like to make it easier than that! Please join us on Thursday, April 4 from 7-9 PM at Restoration to improve this important skill. We hope to develop persuasive communication skills, master the art of presentation, & learn what makes a compelling narrative. This is a great opportunity to invite friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers!

  1. Sermon on the Mount Retreat – Fri PM, April 5 – Sat AM, April 6

Join us for two days of intensive teaching as Darrell Johnson leads us through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

When: Friday, April 5, 7pm- 9:30pm / Saturday, April 6, 9am- 12:30pm

Where: Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, VA (3901 Gallows Rd, Annandale, VA 22003)

Cost:A suggested donation of $10 to cover costs of the event including snacks and nursery can be paid at time of registration or on site at the event.

Interested in Registering? Here is the link

  1. Preaching at Restoration – Sunday, April 7 @ 9 & 11 AM

Finally, Darrell will be preaching during our morning services at Restoration on Sunday, April 7.

We hope you are able to join us for one of these events. Please email Nathan Dickerson at nathan@restorationarlington.org if you have any questions!

Thanks!

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.

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