restore church portsmouth

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

What does it look like to Step Up in faith?


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.


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. 

What's your next step?

This week at Restore Pastor Marc taught from Matthew 14:22-33 and challenged us to take our Next Step. Here are a few takeaways from this week.


Anytime life calls us to step up in any aspect of life our first inclination is to wait till things are just right. But we don't live in a perfect world. More likely than not things will never be "just right" for us to make our next step. In Matthew 14 Jesus made his disciples leave by boat before he spent some time alone to pray. Directly after this we read that his disciples were being tossed by the waves. They were terrified that they wouldn't make it out alive, but during this storm that they were passing through Jesus appeared. WALKING. ON. WATER. But during all of this Peter asked, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Jesus replied, "Come." 

We can't wait for things to be perfect. Jesus knew that this storm would come and he still commanded his disciples to go ahead of him. They thought that they were alone and doomed, but Jesus knew all along that he would come to lead them out of disaster. 


When Peter trusted Jesus, he walked to him. ON. THE. WATER. But as soon as Peter began to doubt in fear he started sinking. He cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out and took his hand. Failure is a real thing. It happens, but we can't be afraid of failure just because it may happen. There are times that Christ calls us out to do miraculous things that we can't begin to comprehend and all we have to do is trust in Christ.

Jesus told Peter to come to him on the water and Peter walked to him. What is he calling you to do?



Here's a video of Pastor Marc on how we make our next steps.