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.


November 4, 2012

Children – Ephesians 6:1-4 – David Hanke

October 28, 2012

Beloved, Let us Love – 1 John 4:7-12 – Erin Bair

Love One Another


They are often some of the most fulfilling and the most challenging aspects of our lives. Friends, spouses, parents, roommates, kids, colleagues, siblings — all have ways of bringing out our best and our worst selves. Figuring out how to cultivate healthy relationships is hard, good work. And it’s what we’re going to be talking about over the next five weeks.

There are about a million books out there on healthy relationships, and probably nearly as many sermons. So why are we adding to the pile? Because we’re convinced that there’s something fundamentally different about what it means to cultivate healthy relationships when you’re part of a church community. Marriage looks different when you’re part of a church. So does friendship. Parenting, too. And while we don’t pretend that we’re the only ones to have ever had this insight, we know how easy it is to live as if all those things weren’t true. And so we think it’s worth spending some time digging in to these questions and seeing what it might mean for the ways we live together. David, Clay, and I will be sharing this series, and we’re all really excited for it.

Jesus’ approach to relationships was summed up in three little words, words he shared with his disciples at their last meal together: “Love one another.” It’s a deceptively simple instruction, because I think it actually contains a wealth of wisdom — on what it means to be part of a church community, on how being part of that community impacts all of our relationships, on what it means to love someone at all. Those are great questions to ask together, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing between now and Thanksgiving. So join us.

– Erin



About a year ago I heard a sermon on Isaiah 53.  The preacher used the story in Acts 8 about the Ethiopian eunuch to drive home his thesis that Isaiah 53 is ‘the 5th Gospel’.  The servant who was despised and rejected is such a poignant picture of how Jesus lived out his ministry and gave hope to that eunuch.

I was actually listening to it at Planet Fitness and had to stop several times because I was so moved by the depth of the insights that this guy was making.

Sometimes, a thought just captures my imagination– I have chewed on that sermon for over a year now.  I have regularly read Acts 8 and thought about Philip and this eunuch.  I imagined their conversation and imagined what might have lead to them meeting up and imagined what it would feel like to be rejected and humiliated, but to have hope spoken in to the situation.  What a game changer if we could regularly and specifically speak hope [not just wishful thinking, but stuff you can count on] into the despair all around us.

I have been looking forward to preaching last Sunday’s text for a long time.  Being the kind of church that runs alongside people in their moments of greatest confusion and darkness and speaking hope–  that’s a vision that breathes life into my soul.

I invited you consider responding to God’s grace like these 2 guys:  Philip and the Eunuch.

  • Philip was a portrait of faithfulness.  He is the kind of guy who was decided to say ‘yes’ when God asks.  We can be those kinds of people.  It is a simple decision:  God when you ask, I will say yes.  And then live your life listening for his instructions.
  • The eunuch was a portrait of humble teachability.  He poured over the Scriptures looking for answers to his situation.  He asked for help.  We can be those kinds of people:  God, I will search your Word.  I will ask for help from your people.  

Both of these guys are great pictures of what it looks like to respond to God’s grace.

On Sunday, we responded as a church and turned in our commitment cards.  It was a sweet moment at each service as we prayed quietly, gave thanks for the opportunity to give and renewed our desire to say yes to God in humble teachability.

If you have not yet turned in your card, please take a moment to put it in the mail or drop it at Restoration.  We will announce the total amount pledged at our fall retreat this weekend.  For those who can’t be with us, we’ll let you know on the 28th.

Thanks for walking through this season together.  God has given us vision for the future, a plan to get there, the opportunity to renew our dependence on Him, and hope.

May we always be a church that speaks hope.


October 14, 2012

Hope – Acts 8:26-40 – David Hanke

October 7, 2012

…it’s the people – Acts 6:1-7 – David Hanke

Guidance, Vestry, and What if I’m gone??


How do we know if God is in it?  How do we know if ‘this’ is God’s will.  As I was preparing for that message, I really appreciated Kevin DeYoung’s bookJust Do Something.  He closed it by saying this,

So the end of the matter is this:  Live for God.  Obey the Scriptures.  Think of others before yourself.  Be holy.  Love Jesus.  And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.

What great freedom!  God is in you and God is in ‘it’ as you make decisions and faithfully follow Him.  Remember the tools He has give to you:  time, trusted friends, and courage.  Each of these will serve you well in various and unique contexts.  I am thankful for a church like Restoration where those tools are available in abundance.  I am thankful for friends who point me to Scripture and pray for me.


Our church is lead by a team of 9 elders who are elected from our congregation.  They serve for three years with three of them rolling off each year.  In November, we will elect three more elders–  the class of 2015!  Nominations for those 3 people are now open, until October 7.

What kind of men and women are we looking for?

  1. First and foremost, they should have a character that has demonstrated dependence on Jesus.  They trust His grace to forgive and His wisdom to lead their life.
  2. A vestry candidate should have competence in areas of leadership and administration.  Vestry members oversee our finances and facility.  They set policies that shape our life together.  They hold the Rector accountable for the way he leads the church.
  3. And a vestry candidate should have those intangibles that make you want to follow him or her.  You trust them.

God has put a lot of people like this in our church.  If you would like to nominate someone for the vestry election, you can either send their name to Tom Downie or you can put their name on a piece of paper in the box at the back of the sanctuary.  The actual slate is determined by the vestry members who are rolling off and not all nominations will necessarily be put on the slate.

What if I’m gone?

One of the great questions about our capital campaign that came up at our info gatherings is this:

Should I give to the campaign if I don’t know how long I will be at Restoration?

I know that Washington is a transient place.  A lot of you do not know how long you will live here.  It’s a good question–  should I give to something that I may never see?  So here are a couple thoughts:

  • Think of the campaign as an invitation–  an invitation to respond to God’s grace.  It is an invitation that you are free to decline.  You may decide that you love the church, but this campaign is not something to which you want to respond.  That’s cool.  And that’s a Godly response.
  • Remember, that probably every church you have ever been in was built from the generosity of someone else.  I have never given to a capital campaign, but I have worshiped in churches for 40 years.  God may be calling you to respond and give to something that won’t directly benefit you.  And that’s a Godly response.
  • Remember, that you are responding to this invitation based on what you know of your situation at this particular time.  None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can know the One who holds tomorrow.  So you are free to respond with a commitment that may have to change because your circumstances change.  And that’s a Godly response.

This has been such a good season of life for our church.  Everyday, I say, thanks God for a church like Restoration.


September 30, 2012

How Do You Know? – Acts 5:17-42 – David Hanke

September 23, 2012

You Can’t Fake It – Acts 4:32-5:11 – David Hanke

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