Let's talk about money

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Recently I spoke about giving at church. You can find the video here.

I’d like to add some practical tips for handling money because

  1. Many would like to give, but feel they can’t afford to give.

  2. Many of us need help handling our finances, even those who are giving.

  3. The culture has given us a misconception about money and it’s purpose.

I want to share some basic principles that have helped us gain financial security and enabled us to increase our generosity. When Casie and I got married in 2006, we realized that we were both savers. We’d been saving money for most of our lives because we were raised to save. Many people aren’t, and I’d like to share with you how we saved, invested and utilized money. As a result of these practices we are able to free up our schedules and say yes to what matters most.

  1. We always give and save first. We set aside 10% for giving and 10-15% for saving. We enrolled in every 401k match, company stock option, etc that we were offered. When we were in our 20s this meant making sacrificial decisions. We didn’t buy our dream home. We bought a duplex and rented half of it out. We didn’t buy expensive new cars. We bought dependable used vehicles. We learned to cook delicious meals and made eating out a special treat. Even now, we typically prefer the food we cook at home to what we find in many restaurants. Our vacations for many years were either camping trips or low cost destinations.

    This is difficult if you’re not making middle class income. Our first few years together, we typically had extra jobs or income from side hustles. Casie went back to school to get a Master’s Degree in her field. You may need to finish a degree, become an industry apprentice, or save to start your own business. Many of times we struggle to save because we are over-spending or under-employed or we aren’t taking full advantage of their expertise and skills we’ve acquired. Nothing worth doing is easy or quick, but commit to the long process. Start making good decisions now, and they’ll snowball as your income and savings grow. By the way, I still work at FedEx part-time because of their benefits. We don’t need the income, but we enjoy the benefits. I don’t know that I’ll ever quit. Stop believing that you need to arrive at the top of some corporate ladder or save millions to live a generous life. You don’t need millions or a six figure income. You need simple principles and determined effort.

    The reason we give and save first is to establish a line in the sand. I need to learn to say no because I’ve already invested or saved that money. I need hard rules that encourage wise decisions instead of frivolous spending. I need to commit to saving and giving as a discipline in my life that will lead to generous outcomes.

  2. We purchase more assets than liabilities. An asset produces income or grows in value. Conversely, a liability loses value and typically produces little or no income. An asset could be a business, real estate, investments or a degree (depending on the institution and job sector). Liabilities include vehicles, boats, furniture, vacations, etc. You have to purchase some liabilities, no doubt. I need a vehicle, food and a home. However, I don’t need a brand new vehicle or a newly built 3,000 sf home. Over the years we’ve purchased assets and delayed the purchase of liabilities. I still drive the truck I bought in college for about $9,000. Last year we could have purchased a new truck. Instead we invested the same amount and purchased another rental property that produces income. Trucks lose value over the long term, real estate (typically) grows in value over the long term. By the way, that rental property generates enough profit to cover a truck payment if I really want one (spoiler, I don’t).

    I’ll admit, liabilities are way more fun to buy. However, assets give you the freedom to decide what you do with your money and time. Let me put it this way. The rental properties we’ve acquired were difficult to purchase. There’s paperwork, proof of income, closing deadlines, etc. Liabilities (boats, cars, vacations) can typically be purchased in a few minutes or hours. However, our assets produce income and therefore give us freedom. We can decide to spend the money and time these assets have freed up however we like. Liabilities, on the other hand, tie a noose around your neck. You can’t take a week off because you need the overtime to pay the monthly payments and insurance attached to the liability. Avoid liabilities. purchase the cheapest liabilities you can. Don’t buy the most house or car you can afford.

  3. We found free and inexpensive ways to enjoy ourselves. We love riding our bikes, hiking trails and spending time on the water. You don’t have to spend money every time you want to have fun. Lately, we’ve been running and hiking more often. Most of our favorite places to visit don’t cost money. Even our vacations are inexpensive. We typically fly (for free thanks to points and Southwest) to a city close to a National Park. We’ll camp for $15 per night in an amazing new setting for a few days. We bring our meals and supplies with us on the plane. We’ve been to dozens of amazing parks while spending only a few dollars per night. You don’t have to spend a fortune flying to exotic places and staying at extravagant resorts to unwind and relax. We save those rare occasions for big anniversaries or achievements (the assets give you the freedom to do that, but you don’t have to spend every dollar you make).

    Lately, I’ve been playing more basketball. There are tons of good courts in my city where I can play pick up ball. No membership. No gym fees. Casie takes the dogs running and enjoys rollerblading (hello 1996). It says a lot about us, when we feel we have to spend money to have a good time. The culture has brainwashed us into thinking we can only have fun if we are spending money. You can enjoy the weekend without spending tons of money eating out and shopping. Our lives should be so much more than a receipt of purchases we’ve made along the way.

  4. We keep an eye on our budget. You thought you’d get through this post without the b word didn’t you? We had a budget before we got married (it wasn’t realistic). We have been constantly adjusting our budget ever since. We have regular financial conversations to keep us committed to good habits. We have a plan for money. We tell it where to go and what to do. We never find ourselves asking, “what should we do with this money?” Your budget will tell you what you can and can’t do. We have our current budget, next year’s budget and our dream budget (once some of the rental properties are paid off completely). Too many people have a theoretical plan of how they’d spend $10M from the lottery, but no idea how they’re going to spend the money they’re actually making. If you’ve never been through Financial Peace University, I’d encourage you to consider attending. If nothing else, read the book Total Money Make-over by Dave Ramsey. Everything really comes down to a decision followed by determination. It took a decade for us to see some of our decisions pay off. Keep after it. Adjust the budget when you get a raise. Make changes when you pay off that debt or car payment. Ideally, every debt you pay off should free up money to be saved, invested or donated.

I want to remind you the why matters more than the what. I believe anyone can make money and create wealth. You have to know why you’re doing it. I’m not saving and investing so I can retire to a golf-course community (nothing against golfing). I’m not saving up for a yacht (my 13’ boston whaler is pretty dope tho).

We are making these decisions to create freedom for ourselves now and later in life. We use this freedom (time and money) to invest in our family, our church and our community. Money doesn’t dictate my life or my schedule. We get to determine how we want to spend our time and energy. This freedom allows us to choose how we invest our greatest resource: time. What’s your why? Are you trying to free up time during this season to be present in your kids’ lives? Maybe you’re trying to create space in your schedule to start a business or launch an initiative for your community? When you have time and resources, you can invest them in what maters most to you. Find your why.

-Pastor Marc

Serve for Portsmouth to make Him known

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Hello friends,

Spring has finally made her presence known.  The flowers are beginning to bloom and the days are becoming longer. And if you’re an allergy sufferer like me, the symptoms will soon pass.  I can’t wait to hang out with my grandbabies, taking in the warmer weather. Zoo, here we come!

Restore is looking forward to another Love Portsmouth Serve Day, a wonderful way for us embrace the warmer weather as a church.  Small group leaders are preparing their members for different projects throughout our community. Interested peoples are welcome to join a team and meet new people while having fun serving our neighbors.  Serving our neighbors is not difficult. First, we need to prepare our hearts and minds before God, to come with a humble and willing spirit (Psalm 143:10). He has already come before us in our communities in need.  We have to meet HIm where He is already present.

Next, how we serve can be very simple, from prayer to worship to manual work.  Questions we can ask what business, organization and/or individuals could use a blessing? Who in your neighborhood has a need?  What project types best suit your group’s ages and abilities? Here are a few ideas:

  • Clean a widow’s or single mother’s yard

  • Kids can host a lemonade stand

  • Have a tea party at a nursing home

  • Help nursing home residents prepare care packages for foster kids

  • Serve a hot breakfast for the homeless

  • Do a community trash clean up

Finally who we serve is of the greatest importance.  We come to serve not to question or judge one’s condition or circumstance but to show the love of Christ during our interactions. Jesus sat with the undesirable of society- the prostitutes, the lepers, the sinners of His day (Mark 2:15). We are not to show fear or apprehensions when serving but express a joyful spirit in sharing the Gospel with others.  It is in these settings where people are saved and God is glorified (Matthew 4:14-16).

Beware my friends.  During our times of serving, your heart will break and become full of compassion towards the needs of others.  Yes, we come to serve but God will reveal Himself to us and show us where we need to change (pride, humility, obedience).  We will be pruned to bear more fruit for our personal growth and for the growth of the Kingdom.

I would like to leave you with a charge David gave his son Solomon- "And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.  Be careful now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it." - 1 Chronicles 28:9-10. I’m extending this charge to us-to show people salvation is found in Christ and to build the kingdom.

I can’t wait to see you on May 25 for Love Portsmouth Serve Day.  If you have any questions or would love to coordinate a project, don’t hesitate to contact me.  


Latrilla



5 Hope Killers

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Hope isn’t natural. It’s a decision

This month we’ve focused on our hope in God. We long for hope here and know we have a hope in heaven. Abiding in hope can be difficult, though. Like faith and love, our hope can be tested and exhausted by everyday life.

Here are some hope killers we need to avoid:


SHAME

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

Shame is opposed to hope. Shame is natural. Hope isn’t. God’s salvation through Jesus saves us from the penalty of sin, but also the shame sin fosters. If you are dealing with shame I’d simply ask,

“Is this shame over something you’ve already repented of and asked God’s forgiveness for?”

If so, take comfort, God has forgiven you and you aren’t what you’ve done. If it’s shame over sin you’re currently committing, God is convicting your heart to bring you to repentance. That’s more conviction than shame. Conviction is good as long as it leads us to repentance. Shame and guilt don’t lead to repentance. They only lead us away from hope, forgiveness and peace.

MATERIALISM

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

When we focus on material possessions, it’s easy to get discouraged. The wild truth is even those with much tend to want even more. If our hearts are set on wealth, power, and the like our hearts will never be satisfied. Materialism can rob us of the hope God longs for us to abide in.

REGRET

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

We all have regrets. There are days and conversations we wish we could change. Living a life focused on the failures of the past can rob us of our hope in the future. Throughout the NT we are encouraged to focus on hope and let go of the past. Paul had much to regret: persecution, unbelief, wasted years, etc. Yet he focused on all that lay ahead.

WORRY

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I’m a worry wart. I’ve always been a big dreamer as well as a big worrier. I have huge aspirations for the future coupled with massive fears of what could go wrong. The recipients of Jeremiah 29:11 were facing dangerous and difficult days, yet God encouraged them not to lose hope. Philippians 4:6,7 puts it simply: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we abide in constant worry it’s difficult to have hope. Worry can strangle hope with a million little questions and fears. There is a time to plan. Then there’s a time to pray and trust God with our plans.

MISPLACED HOPE

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Here’s the best news: our hope isn’t dependent upon our skill, our goodness or merits. Our hope is based on God and his mercy, justice, grace and holiness.

Here’s the worst news: we tend to place our hope in everything but God.

Paul put it this way in 1 Timothy 6:17:  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 147:11: the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

It’s easy to be hopeful when my career, relationships, health, and heart are satisfied. When things aren’t going so well, hope is more difficult. Hope must be a decision I make daily. I will hope in God and his promises, not my feelings or accomplishments (they change so easily). So let me ask you bluntly:

What are you placing your hope in today?

Happy New Year!

NEW-YEAR

Happy New Year!  Latrilla here, I want to share some things with you.  With the New Year upon us, it tends to give us opportunities to create or reevaluate goals, intentions and habits to become a better person throughout the year.  I want to keep you informed about volunteer opportunities and just what serving our city is all about.


What we have coming up this month is the flannel shirt drive.  We are collecting flannel shirts to be given to Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless (PVH) to be distributed to their guest during these winter months.  


I enjoy looking for volunteer opportunities within our lovely city
.  Why you may ask?  As a church, it allows us to link with other organizations, businesses and individuals to demonstrate the hands, feet and heart of Christ (Matt. 4.23).  As an individual, it lets me be used by God so He can extend His reach to those who may be marginalized or less fortunate (homeless, hungry, uneducated, unemployed, addicted, abused).  In doing so, I am changed to be more compassionate and loving to those I may not generally see or talk with every day.  


This year, we are going to make a big difference together in our community together as a church. My question is:

How can God use you in 2019 to love people, make a difference and change lives?



Peace and love, 

Latrilla

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Latrilla

OUTREACH LEADER


Living by the 80/10/10 rule

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During our generosity series (watch/listen here) I mentioned a simple rule that helped my wife and I start budgeting. It's not original. I've seen it numerous places. It's also not concrete. Starting this way has enabled us to grow beyond the 80/10/10 to where we are putting away more than 10% for retirement and giving away more than 10% to the church and missions. However, every great goal needs a simple beginning. The 80/10/10 was just that for us. Let's dig in.

The 80/10/10 rule goes like this: Live off of 80% of your income. Invest 10% in God's kingdom. SAVE 10% for the future. 

Simple right? First let's talk about why the 80% part is difficult. Often we believe the lie that money (and the world for that matter) is all about us. Scriptures encourage us not to let our lives be consumed by money and what it can buy (Hebrews 13:5). Furthermore Paul told us we are blessed, not for ourselves, but to bless others that God might be glorified (2 Corinthians 9:11). Let's be honest. Living off 80% of our income feels like we are missing out. At first it might. However, once you realize you don't need a brand new car, bigger home or every new gadget, living off of 80% is actually comfortable for most people. 

Here are some practical ways we've managed to live on 80% (even less now) of our income:

 

Drive dependable cars for the long haul

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Let's address the reality of the situation. If your car has a decent stereo and AC that works, it's a pretty great ride by historical standards. Ten years from now nobody will care if you had the newest, fastest or most luxurious ride in the neighborhood. I've had my truck paid off for years. It turns 20 this year. I love looking at big trucks. However, I value $400-650/month too much to spend that on a truck I don't need. That money goes a long way toward living below your means. If you can avoid the big car payments in your 20s and 30s, you're freeing up margin for the future.

 

 

Never let the bank tell you which mortgage you can afford

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Casie and I have never asked a mortgage broker how much house we can afford. We aren't interested in a house payment that eats up 30-35% of our income. This always seems to be difficult for young couples. We see our friends buy a big or new home and convince ourselves we are missing out. Hear me. Margin is freedom. By building margin into our financial lives, Casie and I have never felt obligated to keep a job or work extra overtime. I enjoy my work at FedEx and the church. She enjoyed teaching. We both invest some time in real estate investing. Our time and careers are ours to determine. There's no looming mortgage payment or debt burden that forces us to stay in jobs or careers we don't feel called or committed to. This has allowed us to both work primarily in the ministry/non-profit world. We can pursue our calling freely. Don't allow your desire for a model home rob you of your future freedom (eating out when you want, going on vacation, taking sabbatical, etc). 

 

 

Avoid credit card debt

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Let me admit something. I have a credit card. Casie and I have been using the Chase SW card for 4 years now. We've literally been flying free for 2 of those years by taking advantage of the points and companion pass. However, we weren't ready for a credit card at 22. We didn't use a credit card until we were close to 30. We always pay off the balance. In our 20s we were careful to avoid credit cards because we'd seen crippling credit card debt ruin people's financial lives. Many cards have 15-30% interest rates (just under what the federal government considers loan sharking). That kind of interest can kill your chances at an early pay off. When you realize just how much money you're losing to credit card lenders, you begin to see why it's such a lucrative business (for them). This gets into the good debt vs bad debt debate which I'll cover later in this series. I can't wait to continue the conversation on money myths in our next part of the series. 

 

If you don't have a personal budget grab one here from our friends at Dave Ramsey Solutions. Tell your money where to go. Stop wondering where it went.

-Pastor Marc

3 things we've learned starting a church

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A wise church planter told me that church planting would depend more on God growing my heart than God growing His church. “Jesus will always build His church. It’s up to us if we allow Him to grow us in the process.” I’ve taken those words to heart. The last 30 months have been some of the most exciting and exhausting of my life. I’ve enjoyed incredible highs and endured lonely lows. I’ve fully realized my capacity and limits. I’ve come face to face with my faults and weaknesses. While it’s still fresh, I’d like to share some broad insights that I’ve gained over the last 2+ years. In the coming weeks I hope to share more specific insights. Here's my first 3.

We can’t do anything alone

Whether you’re leading a group, managing a team or pastoring a church, you need someone who is pouring into you. I have a coach, an accountability network and close friends that keep me honest. I’m prone to do things on my own. It’s hard to let people do what I can do myself. Even more difficult to let people get close enough to know me. I believe there are 3 types of people we need in our lives:

  1. THOSE AHEAD OF US: You need someone who’s been where you’re heading. You need their insight and encouragement. You need their honesty. Many will tell you theory. these people will tell you experience. It sounds like “here’s what I’ve seen…” more than it sounds like “here’s what I think…”
  2. THOSE BESIDE US: Who do you have in your corner that’s doing what you’re doing? Most of you know I have been blessed with some real advantages. Kevin Bass is my unfair advantage. When he’s working with you he makes everyone look good. He’s also a super encourager of people. You need some friends who are in the thick of it with you. People you can count on. People who love and accept you even though they’ve seen you at your worst. You need someone who can keep you humble and accountable.
  3. THOSE BEHIND US: The kingdom isn’t just for you, today. It’s been entrusted to us for the next generation, tomorrow. Who are you strategically spending your time with? Who can you mentor, encourage and lead? Someone needs your expertise, experience and guidance. Don’t be selfish and spend all your time with the first 2 people I mentioned. Find someone to help along the way.

 

We need all the support we can get

We planted through a denomination. We received training from multiple organizations. We meet often with individuals from different movements for leadership development and encouragement. We wish we could figure everything out on our own. We can’t. Well, maybe we could, but it would take decades. We’ve been blessed to take years of experience from other planters/planting groups and repurpose it for our context. If you're trying to lead within your own knowledge, experience or skill, you're capping yourself. There are people who've done what you're trying to do. Reach out to them. We bought coffee and meals for countless pastors, leaders, planters, business owners and coaches. Every one of them has something different to offer. It's been said, "Show me your 5 friends and I'll show you where you'll be in 5 years." I want to encourage you to get out there and build or find a network that can support and develop you. If you're trying to lead a church, plant a work or start a business, you'll need different networks for different things. There are leaders I spend time with for spiritual wisdom. There are planters I depend on for specific insight into an issue I'm facing. There are church planting groups I depend on for training and support. There are hundreds of individual sponsors who pray for our ministry often. All of these networks work together to build Jesus' church in our zip code. Find a network. Work the network. It's 2018. There's no excuse for trying to do something with no support network.

Nothing can replace

your relationship with Jesus

My backyard is my favorite spot. When I gave my wife a tour of our backyard in 2013 it wasn’t much to look at. I didn’t take her inside the house that day either. Nothing good would come from her seeing that wreck. The brick cape cod at the end of Tyler Crescent had been empty for a few years. The previous owner had abandoned it mid renovation. There wasn’t a kitchen. The yard looked like a jungle. I had to rent a bobcat to tame that jungle. She and I arrived in the late afternoon to see the sunset. That’s all this house had to offer: a view. But I knew. This would be the yard we’d enjoy. This would be our next home. This jungle was where I’d spend some time alone with God.

Over the last few years I’ve had some long afternoon talks with God in that backyard. Occasionally I’ll be mowing, raking or plugging while we talk. Often, I’m just pacing around as God works to soften or direct my heart. I’ve had some difficult conversations with God watching the sun set in my yard. I’ve enjoyed some incredible answers to prayer walking in circles on our little piece of Portsmouth. I’ve been blessed with an incredible spouse, great training, strong support and a next-level team. To be clear, I've got more than a few unique advantages. None of those advantages can ever replace my personal relationship with God. Your relationship with God can take you farther, longer than any unfair advantage in your skillset. Your (lack of) relationship with God can also undercut every advantage in your skillset. Get a team. Find a support network. But trust God, not the process.

 

Grand Opening: what really happened?

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Warning: this is a data nerd post. If you like numbers and details read on.

Restore you did a tremendous job yesterday. We had record attendance and record decisions for Jesus. This morning I went through all the connect cards to pull some data. I want you to see how God used your invites and our resources to reach people last weekend. It's always good to see where our resources are best allocated.

Let's dive in.

We had 102 guests complete a connect card. (Here's a pic of our connect card)

We always want to see how guests heard about our church. Not every guest indicates how they heard, but many do. Here's the data:


35 guests were invited by a friend (8 trusted Jesus)

29 guests received a postcard (4 trusted Jesus)

13 guests saw something on Facebook (3 trusted Jesus)

11 guests saw a billboard, yard sign or banner (1 trusted Jesus).


Do you see it? The best (and cheapest) method to reach people is by simply inviting someone. God used friends and family to change lives Sunday.


The story behind the data:

I received a Facebook message from one of our worship team members. They told me how nervous they were because they'd just invited a long time friend to come with them to grand opening. I met their friend Sunday. This morning i had the privilege of letting our worship team member know their bestie indicated on the connect card they'd trusted Jesus. You never know how God could use a simple invite. 


It doesn't end here. This is just the beginning. We are surrounded by opportunities. Start planting seeds now. Easter is ~60 days away. Who are you inviting?

-Pastor Marc

 

How to help us make Grand Opening awesome

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5 THINGS WE NEED TO START DOING

Invite someone you already know: stats show almost 9 out of 10 people will come if invited by a friend.

Pay it backward: Take an invite card. Pay for people behind you at drive-thru. Leave an invite card for them.

Put out a yard sign: Pick one up at church Sunday. Put it in your yard.

Love your co-workers: Buy donuts or sweets for your co-workers. Hand them an invite card.

Get Social: Share our posts on Facebook. Like and comment on Instagram. Post selfies with invite cards and postcards you get in the mail explaining you're going to the service.


5 THINGS WE NEED TO DO ON 1.28.18

1. Park in the back or off site if possible (y'all are already doing this well).

2. Attend the early service (we expect more guests at 2nd service, but who knows :)

3. Sit toward the front. We all want a back seat. Leave them for guests.

4. Arrive early. We expect lines at kids check-in (earlier you check in, the better for everybody).

5. Be friendly. We are all on the welcome team 1.28.18. Make everyone feel welcome.


Generosity during the month of August

Generosity is more than just giving money. Sometimes we need to take some time and invest in our community in a simple way. All month long, we'll be accepting school supply donations for Parkview Elementary. Bring those supplies and make a difference in one of our local schools. I love coming to church with something in my hand to give to God and something to give to our community. At Restore we are passionate about living out our faith in real tangible ways that share the gospel and love of Jesus with our community.

Here's why:

When I'm GENEROUS, I'm more like Jesus

When I'm GENEROUS, I'm investing in people not stuff

When I'm GENEROUS, God can use me to be salt and light in a dark world

So bring those school supplies, Restore! Let's make a difference right here in our little corner of Hampton Roads.

-Pastor Marc

Candle-Like Christianity


There is Nothing better than a good candle

Often I am joked anytime I bring up how much I enjoy a good candle. I understand that it's not a, "manly" thing to enjoy, but here are several reasons why I think it's preposterous to think any person can't enjoy a nice candle.

  1. Pleasing aroma- Obviously the main purpose of candles in the age of electricity is for their scent (or for those times the electricity goes out). 
  2. Flicker of the Fire- I have always loved watching the flames on candles dance. There's something peaceful about looking at the flames, and seeing a resemblance life in them. Although, I understand that they aren't alive, they still resemble life in a way with the warmth that they provide and the movement that they make.
  3. Illumination- What candles were intended for at the start. They bring light to the darkness. 

Okay, so what's your point?

The light Of the world

In John 8:12 Jesus said of himself, "I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

In Ephesians 5, Paul writes to the church telling them to, "Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good, and right, and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." 

Jesus is the light of the world. + We follow Jesus. = We ARE the light of the world. 

To God, there is nothing better than a good candle-like Christian

I believe heaven rejoices over every soul that comes to know Christ and chooses to follow Him, and it pleases our Father in heaven. When we accept Christ, we are born into a new life in the Spirit and through the Holy Spirit we provide warmth to all people. Finally, with this new found hope in Christ we provide the light in a darkened world. 

In Christ, we have the light to show the lost, the way

The purpose of light is to illuminate the darkness. Without the light there is only darkness. Without the light we can't see between right and wrong. The light shows us the good in everything, but also reveals sin. It's hard to look directly at the light, sometimes it's even harder to look at what it reveals. 

There is power in the name of Jesus. Let's use it more and more each and every day.