Inside the life of Restoration Church formal “accountability” plays a role in our discipling one another – and so does informal times of accountability. But it doesn’t always work. Listen to hear some practices that might hinder the effectiveness of these times together.
Here are some recommended books and devotionals for families to read over the Advent season! Click any of the titles below for more information.
Advent family devotional—
By: Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson
Advent calendar, family devotional, and book—
By: Scott James
Book for PreK children—
By: Alison Mitchell & Catalina Echeverri
Book for early elementary children—
By: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Book for questions about St. Nicholas/Santa—
By: Annie Kratzsch
Christmas activity book (with the Christmas story as well as coloring pages, word searches, etc.)—
By: Matthias Media
Father, we come to you to be with you. You are high and lifted up, but you are also the God who was slain for us.
- You always have been, and always will be, but you are with us now.
- We praise you that you are a pursuing God. You did not wait for us to find you; you came all the way to where we were to find us.
- Your love even extended to the least worthy of sinners.
- You sent your Word through Jonah to the evil city Nineveh, and today you are pursuing people from every corner of the world.
- We praise you that you are the healer–you have not left us where you found us, but you have worked in our hearts. Your healing is the healing we seek, Jesus, as we want to be made holy, as only you are holy.
But while you have offered healing that fills our hearts with you, we often sought to fill our hearts with lesser treasures. We confess that we have not wanted to follow you this week. We have not said “yes, Lord, Here I am” right away.
- You told us to obey our mom and dad, and we argued with them.
- You asked us to care for the poor, and we have worried about how we look before the rich and powerful.
- You reminded us that we can trust you to provide, as you care for the sparrows, but our minds have raced, as we’ve considered the ways in which our desires might not be met.
- Lord, help us confess the following sins to you now: Lust, prayerlessness, gluttony, sloth at work, slandering, bragging, money loving, and coveting.
- Lord, would you please show us the goodness of your commands, how your way is the best way for us right now, that we might run in your path?
We thank you that you happily forgive us with certainty.
And Because you don’t hold our sins against us, we happily come to you to give you thanks.
- We thank you that we are free in Christ.
- We are no longer in debt because you have paid it off in full with a single payment. We are free to live abundantly.
- We are not losers because you have defeated death and guaranteed victory. We are free to live with nothing to lose.
- We thank you for members you have brought to Restoration.
- We thank you for CH&FH, and we pray that they would be a light for you in their neighborhood.
- We praise you for blessing us with JW and AZ.
- And we thank you for our children you have entrust our church with. You know I, W, L, and S; A, M and Z. We thank you for the ones who are on their way whom you already know fully.
- We give thanks for the many ways people here are serving others through fully applying themselves at work.
- We praise you for those in legal professions, and how they protect a key fabric of our society.
- And we thank you for accountants, and how they bring order and accountability to our world.
- We thank you for those who do research in the medical field.
Lord, You have given us so many reasons to be thankful, but we know you are generous, so we bring even more requests to you.
- We pray for those in our church.
- The S family and the S family. We pray that you would bless their marriages.
- We pray for those couples who have challenging job schedules that limit the amount of time they spend with one another
- For N and M, and others here, who may be looking for employment.
- We pray for relationships in our congregation.
- We pray that it would not take until heaven for us to realize what we have here today in this church.
- Help us to treasure our sisters and our brothers.
- Open our eyes to the imperfect beauty of the church around us, that we may treasure each other as you love us.
- Give us hearts to hurt with those who are hurting and to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, even when we ourselves are facing trials.
- And we pray that our time commitment to the people in this church would reflect your value of this church.
Lord, we also pray for our world.
- We pray for the rebuilding of devastated cities in the Middle East. We pray for the start of new churches, as these cities start to move forward.
- We pray for migrant workers who often live on the edge of society.
- This morning, we pray for the tens of millions of migrant workers who move from poor countries to other developing countries.
- We pray that these migrants would be not be preyed upon in these countries.
- And we pray you that you would give world leaders wisdom on how to connect people born in poor countries with better job opportunities.
- We pray for victims of sexual assault.
- We pray for healing for the many here today, and the multitudes in our city who have been victims of sexual assault, and we mourn with them.
- We thank you that our society is increasingly bringing this sin to light, and we pray that as the dirtiness of humanity is exposed, more victims and perpetrators would seek a Savior.
- And we pray for the Ends of the Earth: there are over 1 million Songhai people in Niger.
- As we have thanked you last month with how you granted your people access to the Scriptures through the Reformation, we praise you that this people group received the Scriptures in 2014.
- Would you make your Word go viral in this Muslim people group, for your name’s sake?
Finally, we come back to this church. Would you please move through us this morning as you bless us with the preaching of your Word?
In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
Every week in our Community Groups, we spend dedicated time with people of the same gender to encourage and pray for one another. We call this time “Accountability.” We’ll take the next few episodes to discuss biblical foundations and practical ideas to help us utilize this time for the glory of Christ.
Listen as Nathan and Joey answer a “grab bag” of questions – some serious, others not so much.
Father, your glory urges us to praise you! You are exceedingly holy, and your goodness is without bounds. You are just, and you are truth. You were before the world was, and you will be after the world as we know it will be no longer.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you accomplished justice. We are evil and rebellious from our mothers’ wombs. Even though we know the truth about your glory, we turn away and give that glory to created images. And that rightly offends you, and that rightly cries out for justice. And in the Gospel you accomplished justice in that Jesus bore the punishment for your people’s sins.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you loved. You loved us enough to give your one and only Son for us. We were not of the same nature, nor did we like you; we actually hated you because we weren’t like you and because you wouldn’t give us what we wanted. And yet, you loved us! You sent your Son to bear our punishment so that we may share in your glory.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you defeated evil through good and because you used what we despise as weakness to shame the powers of this world and to raise Jesus from the dead and seat him to his rightful place.
And how amazing is Jesus! He left His throne above to live the life of a servant, be rejected and died the death we deserved. “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Rev 5:12)
We confess that we didn’t want to see your glory, that we didn’t seek it and that when we sought it we did so for our own purposes. Father, your glory is difficult for us to see and bear because it offends our own ambitions for greatness, especially in a city like ours.
Your glory is too weak for us, too gentle, too patient and too much about things other than us. We replaced your glory by man-made glory – educational degrees, prize spouses, prize children, bank accounts, clothing, cars, jobs, houses, big contracts we worked on, intelligence, and abilities. We didn’t take pride in you, the giver of life, but in your gifts. We suppressed the truth about who you are and who we are into a lie and created false “realities” in our image, illusions and delusions in which our importance, our role and our selves are magnified.
Father, forgive us in our neglecting your people, the church, to promote the glory of human kings and queens. The Son of Man is going to come on the clouds of heaven and we have spent time building up human kingdoms! Have mercy on us!
Father forgive us for our rebellion and transform our hearts to long for your glory.
And we thank you for your forgiveness and grace. You have given us awareness of sin, faith to repent, and forgiveness in Jesus. You have given us the Word to transform us. You are constantly at work in our hearts and in the world to advance your kingdom. We thank you for the Reformation, and we thank you for your Word which we can read in our own languages. We thank you for all the good things we have received over the last five hundred years in terms of theology and church polity.
Father, we ask for faith and eyes to see your glory for what it is. Help us not be allured by the glory of man, but be constantly thirsting for your glory. Help us live with the hope of seeing and enjoying your glory rather than human illusions of what a good life looks life.
We pray that we would remember your past works and the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. Help us “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1-2).
To your Name alone be glory, now and forever, Amen.
In this episode of “Ask the Pastor,” Nathan and Joey discuss the TULIP acronym. What does it mean and where does it come from? Listen to find out.
Father, we praise you that you are a God who makes wonderful promises. You promise life, peace, and joy. Father, we praise you that you are faithful to all your promises. We praise you that you have sent your Son to seal the covenant of your promises in his own blood, so that we may have confidence that, though our sins are scarlet, you will wash them white as snow. Thank you that we can have complete confidence in all your promises, including the promise that one day we will see our Lord Jesus Christ face to face in glory.
Father, we come before you conscious of our rebellion against you; conscious that, though you are the most glorious, beautiful, awesome person in our lives, we are prone to wonder away from you. We confess that we do not do your will; we confess that we often reject what you have said to be good and embrace that which is evil; we confess that we often ignore the promises of life that you have made to those who follow you. Father, we confess that though we know that Christ was prepared to go to the cross in the service of us who deserved nothing of the kind, we are often slow to lay aside our needs for the sake of others. Father, as we consider our sins, we are sorry for how little we pray to you that sin might not reign in our hearts, how little we cry out to you for strength to resist sin in our lives. We pray that you would give us a greater concern for obedience. Father, have mercy upon us, forgive us, cleanse us, and change us that we might have hearts responsive to your word.
Lord, we pray for:
- Our elders: Nic, Chris, Kyle, Joey, and Nathan. Grant them wisdom, strength, and endurance. Protect them from the evil one’s ways.
- Our CG Leaders: D & M; C & F; D & H; N & W; E & J; D & P; K & N; T & M; L & Liz; E & J. Grant them wisdom and patience to lead our community groups!
- Our brothers and sisters: J & C; J & J; L; R; E; J & G; D & C; D; J; M & C; J & E; D; B; H; S; C & E; L; M & R; A & H; C; A; C; J; L; and A.
- All of our parents, the soon to be parents, and all of the Restoration Kids workers: Thank you for them, and thank you for giving them this exciting calling. We pray that you would give them strength, wisdom, and encouragement.
We pray that you’d help us as a church think more carefully about you and your Word and that you would cause us to be a blessing to many others as we come to know and love you more. Lord, we pray that you would help us grow in grace and humility. We pray that you would help us reflect Jesus Christ well to those around us. We pray that we would be a church that is marked by gratitude for what you have done and by confidence in what you will do. Thank you, Lord, for the little taste of the international nature of our church body. Lord, we pray that we would continue to display your kindness and care in small and simple ways to the world around us. Oh Lord, you have loved us so much, and we pray that you would enlarge our hearts with love for those around us.
Lord, you tell us that we are we to pray for those in authority, and so we do. Cause them to use the authority you have granted them wisely. We pray that you would give them an understanding of how you have made all of us in your image, and teach them to seek those things which are good for your people and pleasing to you. For the leaders of our country, we pray for honesty and integrity in their work. In your kindness, we pray that you would root out the corruption and the brokenness present in the world we live in. We pray that the funds, supplies, and provisions that have been sent and that may continue to be sent for the relief efforts in P.R. to be used wisely and well.
Lord, we thank you for your Word. And, we thank you that we are able to read it as easily and readily as we are. We give you praise for the way that you have poured out this grace and favour on us. We pray for Nathan as he teaches us about scripture alone. May your Spirit be with him here this morning. And, let it be your words and only your words that we hear today.
Oh Lord, feed us by your word we pray, in Jesus name, for your glory’s sake, Amen!