Pornography is a pervasive problem. And we’re not just talking about the culture at large but also in the church, among men and women. Listen to this and the following three episodes to better understand the issue and how to fight against it.
Father, we gather here as your children resting in your mercy and grace. We come to you as your sons and daughters, bound together in and by Jesus Christ. We rejoice in who you are: holy, perfect, just, steadfast in love, eternally good. We rejoice in what you’ve done: You are the Creator and Redeemer. We hope in what you will do: Restoration us and all of creation back to the way it’s always meant to be: your people in your place enjoying your rule and blessing all for your glory and our gladness. Yes, Lord we come adoring you this morning.
And we come with broken hearts and weary souls. We look at the world and we lament. From the destruction of hurricanes in Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida. To the disgust of racism and systematic injustices preying on the already vulnerable. We lament, oh Lord. From the floods in India to the earthquake in Mexico. From the oppressive regime in North Korea to the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Iran, Laos, Sudan, and Somalia. We grieve the brokenness of this world.
We pray specifically for our brothers and sisters at Covenant Life Tampa and the Heights Church. Give them grace as they ready themselves to face Irma. Grant Justin and Drew much grace and wisdom as they lead their congregations through what lies ahead.
Holy Lord, do not let us become dull to the groans and pains of this world. Holy Spirit, stir us up in prayer. Remind us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We appeal to your almighty throne this morning Lord. Bring comfort to the hurting, justice to the wicked, salvation to the lost, hope to the downcast.
We pray, O Lord, that your gospel continues to advance in this city and around the globe. We pray for Joel at Encounter Church in Columbia Heights, and for Greg and Dan at Veritas City Church in Georgetown, and Jon and Will at Mercy Hill Church in Waterfront. Use these churches to magnify your name. We pray for the Molero family as they continue to plant a church for Spanish-speakers. Advance your gospel, Lord. Raise up a Behdini church in Northern Iraq. Move among house churches in Northern Korea to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ. Raise up men and women from this congregation to take the gospel to the unreached.
For the joy of Christ, continue to use the gospel to shape us as your people. Holy Spirit, convict us of our sin and comfort us with our Savior. Show us our immorality and impatience and greed and love of the world. We confess, O Lord, we confess that we have rebelled against you. We have been harsh with our spouse, selfishly angry with our children. With gossip and slander we have assaulted your imager bearers, even those we call brother and sister. We admit that we have found greater hope in a number in bank account than in being called your sons and daughters. We confess that we have found more joy in illicit, erotic media than in you. We repent. We confess our fear of man and hiding our sin and not being open and honest and vulnerable with others about our struggles. We repent of trying to portray ourselves as perfect and cheerful when our soul is weighed down with trails and temptations, sorrows and struggle.
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin!
We praise you that in Christ Jesus, this is what you have done. “For our sake You made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him, in Jesus, we might become the righteousness of God.” We praise you that Jesus is risen, reigning and returning soon.
Until then, Lord, use us. Use us to bring the hope of the gospel to each other; that we would eagerly serve the church body; that we would eagerly speak the hope and joy of Jesus to each other. This week as we fast and pray, do what only you can do – stir deep within us an increasing affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Take our prayers and use them to build up the body here at Restoration that we might display the glory of who you are. As we fast, remind us of the feast that we have in Jesus and the eternal feast that awaits us in heaven. Use this week, Lord to continue to build the unity and joy of our faith family here at Restoration Church.
This morning as our brother comes to preach the word, use it to transform us. This morning renew our minds that we might enjoy what you enjoy, love what you love. Holy Spirit, you can do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work in us – do this we ask, for the glory of Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The Gospel Accomplished & Applied: In this episode, we discuss how to apply the gospel to real life situations we face. The good news isn’t good unless it gives us hope in the midst of trials – and this is exactly what it does. Listen to learn and be encouraged.
The Gospel Accomplished & Applied: In this episode, we discuss various principles to think through when trying to apply the various aspects of the gospel to everyday life.
The Grass withers, the flower fade, but you stand forever, oh Lord. You are above all things and in you all things hold together. You have measured the waters with the hollow of your hand. You have marked off the heavens, you can measure the dust of the earth in a scale.
You do not need our counsel nor has anyone made you understand. For you are the author of the world. You are the pathway to Justice, you embody knowledge, and you are love. Yes, the source of Love. We praise you that in you, and you alone, do Justice and love abide together perfectly.
Your greatness is beyond our feeble understanding. We shudder at the fact that while we stared in to the sky this past week and looked upon a star, you made that star as you did all the others, and you know every single one of them by name. We affirm the greatness of your might and strength of your power.
You are an everlasting God. Creator of the ends of the earth and you do not grow faint or grow weary. Your understanding is unsearchable.
And we, your people, the church, the house of the redeemed, we children of your heavenly home fall so short of your infinite glory. We fool about with jobs, relationships, and our possessions as if we were the author of them all. We believe that in our freedom we can do with them as we please. Like the Jews of old, we even despise the good gifts that you have given us. We spend our money frivously, we watch immoral movies, sing along to blasphemous songs, and laugh at things that you scoff at. Instead of expressing thanksgiving, we grumble about the church you’ve given us. Instead of serving the family you’ve placed us in, we’ve slandered our mom’s and dad’s, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncle, yes, even our husbands and wives, sons and daughters. We’ve worried about foolish things and we’ve been more interested in things on our screens than we’ve been interested in Christ in our Bibles. We confess that we even find it easier to talk about almost anything with our brothers and sister in Christ except Christ Himself. We here at Restoration Church are a mess! If you kept a record of sins, who could stand?? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be feared!
Yes, with you there is grace upon grace. We rejoice that you penned the words, “While we were yet enemies, Christ died for us.” We rejoice that you made Him who knew no sin to BE sin on our behalf, that in Christ WE …yes we…the same people who just confessed all those things might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God!! Wonder of Wonders! You pardon, you forgive us all of our sins and lavish us with infinite grace! We love that you use the weak things of the world to shame the wise. We love that you use us broken people to highlight your sufficiency! Christ! HE is all we have. Were it not for Him, we would all be dead in our trespasses and sins. But in Him we have life, and life eternal! And in this we rejoice and live with hope in a world that seems to lack hope. You have set eternity in our hearts, and it is all by your grace.
And so, with thanksgiving, we plead with you to magnify your infinite grace in our lives as a church. Lord, we pray that you would use this church to be a beacon of light to Ward 3 of Washington, DC! Use us, use us to be your hands and feet. Use us to tell the poor of the riches in Christ Jesus. Use us to speak to the disenfranchised that there is a home in heaven for them. Use us to tell the rich that they need to be poor in spirit. Rid us God, of our preoccupation with ourselves and our own image, and fill us with a greater passion for the spread of your glory all over this great city.
Give us a kind of holy boldness that cannot be explained but for your Spirit. Give us a kind of courage that fears you more than it fears our fellow man. Grant us a vision for reform that connects back to the courageous saints of history that believed mountains could be moved. Lord we pray that you would use our varied gifts in the fields of economics, language, law and science, health, theology, philosophy, art and accounting, and athletics and teaching, just to name a few. Use these gifts of ours for your glory and the good of our neighbors here in NW DC. Why not, Lord? Why not use this little church to more powerfully tell a better story than the one the Evil One is telling so many around us? Why not? We recognize these things are beyond us, but they are not beyond you. So we place our hope in you, God. We place our hope in you to be salt and light.
We need your grace. We need an ever present reminder of your love because we forget it all too often. We need Jesus–the author and perfector of our faith. Without Him we have nothing and can do nothing. But with Him we have everything and nothing is impossible. So, teach us and teach every Gospel-believing church in this city and every city around the world that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. Teach that to the churches of Indonesia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Make us willing to suffer for your Name. And do it all, we pray, for the glory of Christ and the good of your people. Amen.
Father God, you are the One who is. When Moses asked you for your name you said “I am.” You are and nothing is except as you have ordained. You are truth, and you are love. Truth and love are defined by you and you alone.
Father, we praise you because of your speaking the truth and of your love. We praise you because everything you do is good and lovely. We praise you because in you there is no lie and no evil. We praise you because you do not manipulate, and you do not pretend. We praise you because you are angry and because you are fuming against evil and hatred. We praise you because you are good even in your anger and especially in your anger. We praise you because you are merciful and because you forgive the repentant sinner. We praise you because you absorbed the punishment for sin in yourself, because you quenched the fury and the wrath with your own son. We praise you that you are building your kingdom and that you are bringing back the Son of Man to rule over it.
We praise you that you revealed the Son of Man to us. He is the Word, who was with you, who is God and who was in the beginning with God.
We are thankful that you sent the Word to be the Light to us, to enlighten us, and to reveal you to us. He became flesh like us, but without sin. He lived a righteous life, unlike us. He bore our sin on the cross so that you may be glorified, your anger satisfied and our sin forgiven.
Father, Jesus spoke the truth and he loved his neighbor. He didn’t look to the color of the skin, or to the multitude of sins. He didn’t beat his breast looking down on his neighbor. He didn’t lash out in fear, trying to destroy his neighbor. He was angry, but he was loving in his anger. When people loved him because of the bread he gave them, he didn’t give in to their base desires but preached your righteousness and didn’t entrust himself to them.
Father, we loved him because he could feed the crowds and heal the sick. But we despised him for his appearance, for his homelessness, and for his weakness. We hated him because he showed us we were not concerned with your justice and righteousness, but with our own justice and selfishness. We hated him because he showed us that our truth was a lie. We hated him because he called us to unconditional repentance and submission.
Father, our hearts keep pushing and pulling us away from you. Even this week we were proud and selfish. We forgot Jesus and we thought of ourselves more moral and higher than our neighbors. Unlike Jesus, we thought of protecting our interests at the expense of your truth and of the interests of our neighbors. We forgot to pray to you and found safety in the people around us, in the busyness of life, or in the strength of our human wisdom. We didn’t read your word but saturated ourselves with other people’s opinions who told us what we wanted to hear.
Forgive us our sin Lord, our turning away from you, and have mercy on us. Turn our hearts to you and soften them to your word.
We thank you because we know that in Jesus we are forgiven, and we will receive grace. We thank you that you have not left us to our own devices but have given us your Holy Spirit, and that you control our circumstances to shape our lives to your will. We are grateful that you, the one in which there is no deceit and no lie, are in control of our lives and not our treacherous hearts. We thank you that you gave us your Word to help keep our way pure and to transform our hearts.
Father we pray for transformation. We pray that you transform our hearts to long for your Word as revealed in the Scriptures. We pray that you do not allow us to wonder from your commandments. We pray that we would love your Word, preach it to ourselves, sing it and tell of it to other people.
Father, we are disturbed, saddened and angry at the display of racism and bigotry in this country. Please, have mercy on this country! Father, remove all hatred, racism and bigotry from this country. Have mercy on this country and shine a light on the hearts of people from all races and backgrounds. Show our country the foolishness of doing what is right in one’s own eyes, and the wisdom of relying on your Word. Empower the people of this country to love one another as opposed to hate one another. Give wisdom to our leaders to act and speak in a loving, just, and peace-making way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Gospel Accomplished & Applied: In this episode, we discuss how the gospel is more than “Jesus died for your sins.” Understanding the various aspects of the gospel will help you apply this good news to your life and help others live in light of gospel hope.
The Gospel Accomplished & Applied: In this episode, we briefly define the gospel and discuss the importance of clearly and concisely articulating this good news to Christians and non-Christians alike.