Restore

2 ways to be encouraging

Acts 4:29  "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldn  ess,"

Acts 4:29 "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,"


The beauty of the book of Acts in the New Testament is that for the first time we see the church learning to live for Christ after Christ had ascended into Heaven. As terrifying as that may have been for them Christ commanded them, before he ascended, to go and teach all nations of what he had done.

And they did just that.

They grew in number, they gathered in fellowship as believers, and they encouraged one another daily. Persecution would soon follow, but they held fast to their belief in Christ.

So, how did they do it?

What should we do?

Be generous

In Acts 2 we read that people from all walks of life that began to follow Christ now mingled with one another like never before. Many people repented of their sins and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, they sat down to eat with one another, and they sold their possessions and gave generously to any person that was in need.

No, I don't mean you need to sell all that you have.

However, we should seek to be generous with what we do have. Being generous for some may surely be with their treasure, but for others it might be their time. 

Be generous in giving your time to encourage others to live for Christ. As part of the church we are to gather in fellowship to exhort and build one another up, encouraging one another. 

ask god for courage

In Acts 4 we read about the growing persecution the church faces after Christ has ascended. Peter and John had just finished healing a man and teaching a crowd in Jesus' name. Because of this, the Jewish leaders came and arrested them and threatened them to stop teaching in Jesus' name. Since the Sadducees could find no fault in them Peter and John were released. Once Peter and John gathered with other believers they prayed for God to give them boldness to speak God's word. 

They could've stopped right there... but they didn't.

God is our Creator, He is our Provider, and He is our Healer.

When we are discouraged and struggling, we as believers should come together and pray for God to give us courage to speak His word. 

 

Who can you encourage this week?

What will you do to make a difference?

The benefit of volunteering on the set up team


Learning something new

On our set up team we have a wide array of volunteers that come in and have different areas to set up before our service on Sundays. Everything that you see at 10:30 had to be set up so that we could have service, and all of it has to be packed up after service. No one person does it all. We work together in a rotation of roughly 30 people each Sunday that come in at different times from 8:30-9:45 a.m. When someone has a question on how to set up their area there will always be someone to help give an answer. 

In many ways being on the set up team is like living out Christianity. No one person does it all. All of us have questions, but we do our best to work with each other in answering those questions. We guide and lift up each other to do better in living for Christ. This is community, and this is Christianity together in one.

Are you ready to serve?

We are always looking for new ways to get our people at Restore involved with serving on Sundays and throughout the week as well. Would you like to get involved with our Set Up team or our other serving opportunities? Click the link below to get started - http://www.restoreportsmouth.com/life-track/

2 ways to be a blessing this Thanksgiving

1. Invite someone to your family gathering

I grew up in Hampton Roads, an area with a well-known military presence. Our extended family always made it a habit to invite anyone to Thanksgiving who couldn't make it home to their own family Thanksgiving. Through the years I've enjoyed turkey with many service-members, military spouses who were alone while their spouses were deployed, and anyone else who just happened to be away from home. Maybe you have a seat at your table. Make sure everyone has somewhere to gather this Thanksgiving, even if they can't make it home. I know a few families at Restore that have opened their home to individuals this Thanksgiving. My family will have a few joining us. Let's make sure everyone has a great meal with someone that cares about them this Thursday.

2. Donate your unopened canned goods

I know Restore Church just wrapped up a food drive, but it never hurts to donate more food to the food banks in our area. Be sure to keep track of any extra canned good you didn't need for that big meal Thursday. You never know how much difference a donation can make to the food bank. I've told the story before about how food banks were a real life saver for my mom when she was a single parent scraping by in the 1990s. Be thankful. Be generous. If you missed the food drive this month, don't worry. We will be accepting non-persiahbles Sunday for the local food bank.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

 

-Pastor Marc

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3 benefits of being a parent and a volunteer


On our volunteer team at Restore Church at least half of our volunteers are parents. Most of them serve every Sunday or may be on a rotation to volunteer on a weekly or monthly basis. Most of our volunteers show up by 9:30 a.m. to prepare for our weekly service at 10:30 a.m. For some parents that hour of volunteering and having their children with them may seem daunting, but here are some benefits and why you should bring your children with you as you serve.

1. Fellowship

In the life as a Christian we are constantly striving to be more like Christ, and that results in us being more like-minded. Some of the best fellowship happens when you begin to volunteer along with others and work towards a common goal. Not only do you as a parent get to be in fellowship with other volunteers, but your children also get an opportunity to get to know all of the other children that come with their parents as their parents volunteer.

2. Being a part of our team children's church

Not only are we setting up for service on Sundays, but we also set up for our Restore Kidz and our Nursery every Sunday as well. Our parent volunteers are so valuable with these two areas. Many of our parents volunteer with these two ministries because they know how to work with children, and they love doing it as well. 

3. Your kids will learn from you

1 Corinthians 1:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

We should be imitators of Christ as we serve being willing, gentle, and loving with other people. Children can often tell when their parents are genuine and when they are not primarily because they see them at home and at church. Your children are watching and imitating you so that they know how to react to certain situations and how they should live their lives. This too may seem daunting but it is an amazing opportunity for our parents to imitate Christ through serving, and for their children too see the love and affection of Christ through them.

When do you feel closest to God?

I am part of a small group that's going through questions about God. One of the questions posed this week was, "when do you feel closest to God?" I had to really stop and think. I can name many instances I've had intimate times with God, but the timing is always the same. I feel closest to God when I've take a big risk for His kingdom. Whether that's inviting someone to church, sharing the gospel, investing actual dollars in missions, or just leading the church into a risky situation that only God could see us through, it always results in a real dependence upon and closeness with God. I believe it happens for a few reasons.

1. My faith is tested. I'm afraid too often I avoid situations that will stretch or test my faith. I enjoy the safety of the status quo. Testing isn't something to avoid. It's something to lean into.

2. My ideal resolution does't happen. In my mind I imagined God would fix this another way. I assumed He'd use some method I can wrap my head around. It rarely happens that way. This forces me to realize it was never my leadership or sensibilities that resolved the situation.

3. My faith is strengthened. God shows up, or guides, or fixes whatever was amiss. The end result is always the same. My faith is strengthened through the testing. This is why I tend to be more of a risk taker (in terms of my faith) the older I get. I've seen Him do amazing work in me and through me. I hope to take more risks and see God do more in the days ahead.

 

So let me ask you. When do you feel closest to God?

 

 

-Pastor Marc

3 simple steps to establish your devotional life

Do you ever ask yourself  How do I start reading my Bible, or How do I start praying to God?

Do you ever ask yourself How do I start reading my Bible, or How do I start praying to God?

What makes getting into a routine so difficult? We have busy schedules that consist of work, family, and activities that we enjoy. So, where can we fit in extra time for other things? That's easy,  most of us have at least 15-30 minutes every day that we can allot to spending our time with these other things.

Yet, getting into a routine can be so difficult because it asks not how much time we give in a particular day, but how often will we seek to spend time each day and the next on devoting our time to whatever thing we are giving our time to. With as difficult as starting a routine can seem to be, starting a routine is also equally simple. 

Choose a time

What time works best for you? As I said earlier, most of us can find a 15-30 minute window in our busy lives to spend time with our Creator. One of the most crucial aspects of starting a routine is gradually building your endurance up from an easy starting point. A lot of times we can get burnt out of our devotions simply because we try to do everything all at once. Pick a time of day and start small.

I tend to have a tendency to be more awake at night and I prefer to end my day in a way that I can thank God for the things He has done that day. I've also met plenty of people who love to start their day in God's presence so that their day and their decisions throughout their day reflect their time spent with God early in the morning. And there are also others who prefer to spend their time with God in the middle of the day or during their break at work. All of these are good, but remember to choose a time that works best for you.

Choose a place where you are comfortable

Do you have a view that sticks out in your head? How about a comfortable spot you love to sit? Learning to enjoy your routine is vastly important to continuing a healthy routine. Finding that place where you can sit and focus on God is important to enjoying the routine of having your devotion with God. If you don't have a place in mind, look for one.

Read/Pray/Meditate

There isn't a real set order in how you should do these three things, but it is good to do these three things in some order. 

Read. Reading our Bible is the way that we can see what God has spoken to those in the past and how he speaks to us today. Don't just read to read, read so that you can remember what you've read. No matter if you have read 5 verses or 5 chapters. If you are having trouble finding a book to start in you can look back at one of our recent posts about where to start reading your Bible: http://www.restoreportsmouth.com/blog/?offset=1474568064263

Pray. Praying is our way to speak with God. He wants for us to have a relationship with Him and to have an ongoing conversation with Him in our Bible reading and prayer. Praying for our needs is good as well, but remember to also pray for others.

Meditate. I'm not talking about sitting on the floor Indian-style and humming chants or doing yoga. I mean that after you read and pray to reflect on the things that you've learned. Reflect on the Word of God and reflect on what He is doing in your life.

-T.I. (the intern)

Setting Spiritual Goals

It's always good to set goals whatever our circumstances may be, but what does it look like to set spiritual goals?


Why set spiritual goals?

We should set spiritual goals for ourselves much like we set goals for our everyday lives. Setting goals gives us a chance to look at who we would like to become as a Christian. As a Christian the goal is to grow in our faith and understanding as followers of Christ. Setting spiritual goals and reaching them allows us to look back on who we were, to what we have become in Christ. 

Here are some spiritual goals to start with:

  • Read a book of the Bible
  • See family come to Christ
  • See prayers answered
  • Memorize verses
  • Discover spiritual gifts

here are some other ways to start Spiritual Growth in your life:

  • Read the Bible
  • Obey the Bible
  • Active prayer life
  • Invite others to Church
  • Fasting
  • Give your talents, treasures, and time

 

Here's a video of Pastor Marc's message on Spiritual Growth and setting Spiritual Goals.

What's your next step?

This week at Restore we had FOUR people (Terry, Jenny, Caleb, and Alex) take their next step with baptism!! 

What's your next step? Pastor Marc taught us this week from Ephesians 2:4-10 on how we can take the steps to having a better relationship with God. Here's what you missed!


God said, ‘I want you to be Mine and I want to be yours.”
— Marc

SPend time with God

The more time that we spend with God, the more we come to realize how perfect He is and how far we are from Him. But that isn't supposed to discourage us, it's supposed to encourage us to strive to be more like God in how loving, merciful, and gracious we are with other people.

Jesus has called you to change your world

Our focus shouldn't be to change the whole world, but to change our community, our workplace, our families, and ourselves for Jesus.

it starts with your relationship with god

Before we can change our world God has to change us first. God wants to rescue you from who you were. God wants to redeem you into who you were called to be. And through you God wants change the world.

 

Here's a video of this weeks message.

What does it look like to Step Up in faith?


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO STEP UP?

Life consists of a multitude of daily decisions. With each of these decisions we must come to a conclusion on whether we say yes or no. There is no backseat to these decisions that we face. When we answer the call to accept Christ into our lives we are actually giving a two-fold answer. First, we answer that we believe in Christ's complete sacrifice for all sin. The second of which is that we choose to live our lives for Christ, in the same way that He lived, to the best of our ability. In James 1:19-27 we read that we should not only be hearers of the Word of God, but doers as well. We aren't called to live life with a backseat mentality, we are called to Step Up and take action.

HOW DO I TAKE MY FIRST STEP?

Our first step starts with having faith in Christ and that he will be glorified in our decisions. Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that everything begins and ends with Christ. Our faith in Christ is what saves us, but our faith should produce works. James 2:14-26 explains that our faith is to be active along with our works, and that our faith is completed by our works. Faith and works aren't separate. When we choose to STEP UP in our faith in Christ, genuine love will be the product.

Maybe you're trying to decide to STEP UP to a new relationship, an engagement, or marriage. Maybe you've wanted to STEP UP to a new job opportunity. Maybe you've been afraid to STEP UP and share your faith in Christ. We weren't made to remain idle. We were made to do. We were made to love.

 

What step are you trying to make now?

There is a first step for everything, but our first step is only the beginning. 

Generosity

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This week Pastor Marc talked about 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 and what it looks like to live generously. Here are three take-aways from this week.

Generosity is giving when it doesn’t make sense.
— Marc

Generosity requires faith

God asks for us to have faith in him, but that faith is stretched so thin when the rent is due. We serve a generous God. He has given us His Son, He gives us Salvation open-handed, and He gives us hope. God is not a taker, He is a giver. He asks us little in comparison. Money is not the end-all-be-all. He may not always give us money, but God knows what we need. Our God is faithful to give to those are faithful to give.

generosity kills materialism

How do we kill materialism? We have to view money for what it is, a tool. For us as believers, money is a tool for us to bless our community. Tools are made to be used, not to be stored away never to be used again.

Generosity builds faith

God provides a way for us to be generous. Our faith in God increases as we see the blessings He brings to those who are in need. When we step out in faith and give (at church or in the community) and watch God step in and provide, our faith is strengthened. Do we trust God enough to give?

 

A follow up to Sunday's sermon:

The goal of growth is ALWAYS productivity. We raise our kids to be independent so that they may grow to be productive adults. We don't want our children to depend on us forever, and we desire to see them mature and become self-sufficient.

The same is true for the church.

Our goal is to be healthy enough that we can grow to a place in which we are taking care of our own needs; physical, spiritual, and financial. Our ultimate goal is to be productive. We aren't just paying bills and passing time, but we are making a difference and investing in our community. If this is to be true in the church it must also be seen in believers' lives.

Here are two questions to think on this week

  1. Are we growing into mature believers who are generous AND self-sufficient?
  2. Are we growing into every good work mentioned in 2 Corinthians 9:8?

Growth and good works go hand in hand.

 

Here's a video of the sermon this week on Generosity.

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