If God is like this…

Oh Advent, how I love what you do to my soul–  the chanting psalms, the smell of evergreen, the wreath and candles, the picture frames on the wall.

I love walking with our church in these seasons of deliberate expectation.  Can you imagine doing Christmas without Advent?  What a loss.  How plastic.  And desperate.  And driven.

Thank you Restoration for being a church that preps well together.  I love praying with you, singing with gusto alongside you, and waiting.

On Sunday, I talked about how Jesus is the perfect imprint of the essence of God.  When we see Him, we see what God is really like.  Then I listed out 7 things that God is not and by corollary, 7 things that God is.  In case you missed it, sounded like this…

“But, if God is like this.  If He is not absent, or boring, or hard to know, or far off, or irrelevant, or impotent or hard to understand.  If He is creative, fully-disclosed, close, critical to what we need, powerful, and intimately clear…  If that is what God is really like.  Then we have to work hard to not know HIm.  We have to deliberately choose to not know Him.”

That’s a different way to think about it, eh?  That our friends and family who don’t know God are actively trying to not know Him, to keep Him at a distance.  If we think about it, we can understand why–  if we are not sure if someone is a good cook, let’s keep him out of the kitchen.  If we are not sure we can trust God to run our life, let’s keep him on the other side of that fence, mountain, or website…

Here is my invitation in Advent–  when you get tired of actively trying to not know God.  When you are ready to stop running the other way…  would you consider Jesus?  He is the exact imprint of His nature.  He perfectly understands what it is to be US.  And He has what we most desperately want and need.

When you are tired of keeping God away, come sit in the beauty of Advent and wait.  We have a seat for you.

-David

Consider Jesus: The Exact Imprint of His Nature

December 2, 2012 – Hebrews 1:1-4 – David Hanke

Consider Jesus

Friends,

Advent begins this Sunday and things will feel a little different around Restoration.  There is anticipation built into everything–  the music, the decorations, finding the little lambie thingy.  I will preach five times [4 Sundays of Advent and Christmas Eve] about Jesus from the book of Hebrews.  What difference does He make?  Why would God take on humanity and live among us?  As we prepare our homes, our gifts, our meals, and our hearts…  let’s consider Jesus.

Enjoy the video.  Our staff team can’t wait!

-David

Fight Clean and Forgive Fast

November 25, 2012 – Colossians 3:12-17 – David Hanke

November 25, 2012

Fight Clean and Forgive Fast – Colossians 3:12-17 – David Hanke

How am I doing with my part?

On Sunday I preached about sex and prayer.  As I said in my caveats, I am sure that I said something that either offended you or made you raise a questioning eyebrow.  That’s great.  I love that we can be that candid and real about stuff that really matters.  Hope you wrestle with your questions in your household, your marriage, or your small group.

I wanted to remind you of my question to those who are working on sex in marriage:  How am I doing with my part?  This is a question for you to answer for yourself and then to humbly share with your spouse.  It is very different to answer, How am I doing? then to declare–  this is how you are doing.  Those are vastly different conversations.

As you think about the question, here are some categories to consider:

  • How am I doing initiating sex?  initiating prayer?
  • How am I doing saying yes to sex?  or yes to prayer?
  • How am I doing being available?  emotionally–  do I ask what’s going on?  do I listen to how my spouse is doing?  Does my spouse feel free to be candid about how they feel?
  • How am I doing being available?  physically–  am I home for dinner?  Am I around on the weekends?  Am I reserving time when my spouse and I have energy and we are at our best for the conversations that need to happen?  Is my spouse always getting ‘what’s left’ of me?
  • How am I doing with my encouragement?  Am I critical?  Am I seeking ways to build up with my words?  Am I surprising my spouse with notes and thoughtful items that let them know they are not alone?
  • How am I doing being faithful?  Is there a friend who asks me this question on a regular basis?  Is my consumption of media making me dissatisfied with my spouse?  Am I fantasizing about someone else meeting my needs for companionship or sex?
  • How am I doing in my relationship with Jesus?  Do I have things that He is teaching me that I can share with my spouse?  Am I thankful to Jesus in a way that helps me have joy with my spouse?

Here is that quote from Tim Keller again…

Sex is perhaps the most powerful God-created way to help you give your entire self to another human being.  You are saying…’I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.’

You must not use sex to say anything else.

For those of you who are working hard at sex in your marriage and for those of you who are working hard at abstinence outside of it, I applaud you.  Let’s not grow weary in doing good.  Let’s encourage one another.  It is a great gift to bind us together.

I’ll leave you with this reminder from the book of Hebrews:

Since we have confidence to enter  the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by  the new and living way that he opened for us through  the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have  a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts  sprinkled clean  from an evil conscience and our bodies  washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for  he who promised is faithful.  And  let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and  all the more as you see  the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10

-David

November 18, 2012

Sex and Prayer – 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 – David Hanke

November 11, 2012

Christ-like Friendship – John 15:12-17 – Clay Morrison

What can I do to help?

We all need help.  In fact, we spend most of our waking moments [and fitful dreams] imagining how we can marshall our resources to accomplish the tasks that seem most pressing.  For those of us who are graced with good friends, good family, and good community, we know that there is a cadre of folks we can look to and ask for help.  Those relationships where the ability to ask feels free and unrestricted are a tremendous gift.  Yet we would probably all agree that if there is a way we could get that to do list done without asking anyone–  well, that’s what we would prefer.

Which is why it is such a game changer for someone to come offering to help.  Initiative, going first, leading with grace are extraordinary gifts.  On those days when you feel like–  ok, I think I can get this all done–  if everything goes perfectly and no one is late…  On those days when you are just on the edge of ‘cooked’.  If someone shows up on those days and says, ‘What can I do to help?’   Well, you don’t know whether to laugh, or cry, kiss ’em.

Honoring our parents and not exasperating our kids.  These are tall orders when there is a list of disappointments and unmet expectations.  So this simple question just gives us a practical way to keep stepping, to keep laying pipe, to keep doing the right thing:  Today.  Now.  Aware of all that is out there.  ‘What can I do to help?’  How can I leverage who I am for what you need, today?

Healthy relationships and healthy families are really the accumulation of millions of good steps, right choices, and simple questions.  I hope this one helps you.

What can you do to help at Restoration?  The leadership of our facility team, our architects, and our civil engineer had a great meeting with Arlington county today. They reminded us of our agreement to ONLY park on the deck at Washington-Lee High School.  They reminded me that if anyone in our congregation thinks its ok ‘just this once’ to park on Quincy or a side street, it is not.  We have agreed to always and only park either at Washington-Lee or in our own lot.  So come 5 minutes earlier, meet some friends on the shuttle, smile at our neighbors [even ask them the question!], and say hi to James the shuttle driver.

Hope you voted at the polls and worshiped with Restoration at our Election Day Eucharist.  As you crawl into bed, give thanks for our nation, for the privilege of peaceful elections, and the freedom to worship Jesus.

Grateful to be on the journey with you.

-David

November 4, 2012

Children – Ephesians 6:1-4 – David Hanke

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