Every doubt has an equal position of faith. Here are a couple more examples…
- To doubt Christianity is the only true religion is to believe that other religions are valid – this itself is a position of faith that cannot be proven.
- To doubt that there are no moral absolutes is to believe morality is socially constructed – that itself is a position of faith that cannot be proven.
- To doubt that the Bible is the Word of God is belief that God did not inspire the Scriptures – that itself is a position of faith that cannot be proven.
- To doubt that God created us as living beings is belief that we came from non-living matter – that itself is a position of faith that cannot be proven.
So everyone has faith. Everyone trusts in something. The only difference is the object of our faith, our trust. Ultimately what matters is what you put your faith in, what you trust in.
If you’re debating whether or not to walk across a frozen pond, what matters most is not the strength of your faith, but the strength of the ice – the object of your faith. Will it hold you?
Strong faith in weak ice brings catastrophic results; the ice does not hold your weight no matter how much faith or trust you have in it. But weak faith in thick ice brings positive results; the ice holds your weight regardless of the strength of your faith. You see, it does not matter how bold or timid you are, what matters most is where have you put your faith?
Many people put faith in their own reasoning. But my reason has failed me. If you’re honest you would say the same thing; our reason is not perfect. Not only has my reason failed me, but my feelings have failed me; my own morals have failed me; my closest friends have failed me (and I have failed them); my efforts have failed me.
If I put my faith in any of these things I am knowingly putting my faith in something I know is broken!
Where should we put our faith? In something that is bedrock and never fails. In Christ Jesus. How do we know Jesus is faithful and never fails? Because he died for us and rose again!
Don’t let your doubts lead you to yourself. The more we look into our own reason, our own hearts for peace and assurance, the less we find. The more we look to Christ and his promises, the more assurance we find.
When we put our faith in Christ as our only hope we are blessed; we are in the place of God’s favor. There is nothing else we can do to earn the favor of God – no amount of good works, no amount of deep thinking, nothing will do except hope in Jesus; he alone can reconcile us back to God.
So more important than resolving all of your doubts is examining the object of your faith. We all live by faith, what is the object of your faith? Only after you truly answer that question can you deal with your doubts.
Dear Restoration Church Family,
As we reflect upon our time at Restoration Church, the relationships we treasure, and, most importantly, the impact this church has had on our spiritual lives, we cannot help but strongly desire to be with you once more. We cannot imagine what our lives would be like had we not been brought to Restoration. You never cease to live out a Gospel centered love and care for one another. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to live life together with you through service opportunities, community groups, and other family gatherings. We cannot express the level of gratitude we have for you as you have been with our family through a multitude of formative moments- from our coming to faith to the birth of our first child, you have been a true family to us. Living life with you has taught us much, and you will always remain in a special place in our hearts.
We have been blessed here in the NW Suburbs of Chicago with an opportunity to attend a strong, Bible teaching, Gospel centered church called Embassy Church. It is a small church plant that is about 9 months old and about 30 members strong (not much different from Restoration when we first started coming). Over the last few months, we believe that this is the church home in which God wants us at this time. We have pursued the membership process not long ago, and were very recently voted in as members of Embassy. It is with a flurry of bittersweet emotions that we submit our resignation of membership at Restoration Church as we engage in the next chapter of life at Embassy.
Would you please pray that we can continue to find ways to serve in the church? Summer has been slow with regard to service opportunities, and we desire to be as involved, if not more so, than we previously were at Restoration. Also, Embassy does not have a community group structure at this point in time, and getting discipleship/ one on one relationships going is a bit challenging due to the schedules and geographic distance between church members(things are not quite as compact as in DC). Please pray that we would be able to engage our new brothers and sisters in meaningful conversations to help them grow and encourage them as they walk with Christ.
We are praying for you, we love you, we are grateful for you, and we hope you will stay in touch,
A, I, (and L)
Father we come to you this morning freshly aware of the fragility of life. Hundreds of men and women, girls and boys lost their lives when their plane was shot down this past week. Yesterday while we were enjoying the blissful weather, shells pounded the Gaza and rockets landed in Israel; dozens of people died. Right now extremists in Iraq and Syria slaughter anyone who stands against them; nations at war with other nations; nations at war within their own nation. We look at the world; and we’re confronted with death and darkness; brokenness and ruin.
We cry out to you. At times we are confused and perplexed. Sometimes we’re outright angry. Other times we are numb to the pain; it’s become so common our hearts have become calloused. Awake our souls to see the world as you see the world; with compassion for the hurting, a yearning for shalom, for peace, for the restoration of all things. Awake our souls to plead with you in prayer. Awake our souls, Lord God Almighty!
We take great hope in this promise: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” At times if feels like there’s no hope globally; more poignant, it sometimes feels like there’s not hope personally. But that’s not true. Satan will not win. The battle was won upon the cross of Christ. Beauty will defeat evil. Joy will defeat shame. Life will defeat death. Praise be to God who will raise us up in Christ on the last day. O God of peace, when the battle rages and the schemes of Satan seem to be winning, grant us your peace that passes all understanding. Triumphant Lord Jesus, we ask for your grace to shower those in the midst of trial and turmoil. In your sovereign reign and supreme goodness use these evil and hateful events to bring about righteousness and jubilee in drawing all peoples to yourself.
We praise you Lord Jesus that you are the Savior of all those who believe. We draw comfort knowing that you are intimately familiar with suffering and shame; that you went through darkness and death. Thank you for loving us enough to give your life up for us. And we praise you that you are powerful enough to take your life back up again promising to destroy the devil and all his works. Our weary and tired, yet joyful and expectant, cry is, “Come, Lord Jesus Come!”
Lord God Almighty, you are our Rock and Redeemer, Savior and Sustainer. Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, we praise your name this morning for you are worthy to be praised. For the depths of our soul, we worship your holy name. Increase our capacity and desire to know and love and cherish you. “You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger. Your name is great, and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness, we will keep on singing; Ten thousand reasons for our heart to find.”
We are not only mindful of the brokenness in the world, but also the rebellion in our own soul. Despite your goodness to us, we sin against you. Despite your unwavering faithfulness we doubt you. We confess our idolatry and laziness. We remorse over our hard hearts that find you dull and boring. We acknowledge the harsh words we spoke this week and the bitterness in our hearts right now. We repent of our sin, Lord. We praise you that in Christ, our sin no longer defines us; that Christ took our sin that we might have his righteousness. We praise you for this good news; we rest knowing that we are justified completely by the work of our Lord Jesus.
We pray this gospel message marks every facet of our church. For the glory of your name, continue to develop and deepen the gospel community within Restoration. As we share meals together and pray with one another, as we worship together and sit in each other’s homes, as we email and text message one another, allow our speech and conduct to be worthy of the gospel. Build up this body for the glory of your name. We pray for our brother, JF – make the gospel sweet to him. May he eagerly share that gospel with friends and co-workers. And we pray for M & C H. May the each long for the Word and meditate on it’s richness. May they serve and love and respect each other.
Father, for the hallowing of your name, we ask that you would continue to work here in this gathering. Stir up those who are actively trusting in Christ. Give them the grace to walk faithfully and joyful in Christ. For those here not trusting in Christ, would your grace permeate their hearts and minds. Draw them to yourself this morning that they might taste and see that you are infinitely good. Hallow your name in this place. Pour out your Holy Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts that we might trust and treasure Christ, that we might savor Jesus, that our souls might be filled with the everlasting gladness of your eternal Son, Jesus the Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Glorious and majestic God, we gather here this morning to worship your holy name. God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit amazingly beautiful in who you are. We honor your glory; we revere your holiness; we admire your greatness; we praise your power; we esteem your wisdom; we treasure your beauty; we savor your goodness; we trust your faithfulness; we respect your justice; we fear your wrath; we cherish your grace; we prize your presence; we love your person. Oh, how amazing you are.
This week as we read your word, would you give us deep, intimate times meditating on your goodness that we might be astounded with you and you alone. Captivate our minds and saturate our souls with the supreme splendor of your lavish love and generous grace. I pray for our brother GP this day – we praise you for the faith you have birthed in his life and we ask that you would make Jesus his greatest treasure and only King. We pray for the older children in here with us this morning. Help these little one savor the supremacy of Christ Jesus all their days.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask that you would continue to make our church a place where your name is hallowed. From the oldest to the youngest, from every Sunday service to each Community Group, from every new members class to all those shared meals, from every mission trip to every elders meeting may we exalt Jesus to the glory of your great name. Make us a people who are zealous to share the good news of Jesus with our classmates and co-workers, neighbors and family members. Lord God, for the renown of Jesus, would you bring people to faith in Christ through the direct ministry of the members of this church? Make us a people unified in the gospel of our Lord; that we would put personal preferences aside; that we would be quick to repent and offer forgiveness; that we would generously give financially to this church; that we would actively pray for the other members of this church.
Make us a people who are quick to acknowledge our sin. Father, we know that apart from Christ we have nothing and are marked by selfish desires. We confess that we are prideful and self-righteous. We confess that we get sinfully angry and carry around bitterness in our hearts. We confess that we are greedy. We confess that we discipline our children not out of love but impatience. We confess that we lie to protect our image. “Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us based only on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.” Yes, Lord God Almighty, use this church, Restoration Church, to be a bright gospel light here in NW DC and beyond.
We pray for HaitiLove and our brother Noah as he spends time training Haitian Pastors. Use his ministry to strengthen churches and start new healthy Haitian Churches. We pray for our mother Church, Northwake. Thank you for their continual faithful ministry; grant the elders and members of Northwake an increasing passion to reach the lost and equip them to become mature and ministering worshippers of you, our great God. Father we pray for the 5000 plus missionaries working through the IMB. From the city of Istanbul to the plains of Africa, from the slums of Bangladesh to the mountain villages in China, you have used the IMB to send men and women all around this globe. Give these brothers and sisters a deep-seated passion for Christ; bring forth fruit from their labors; bring all nations and all peoples and all tribes and all tongues to yourself for your glory and the gladness of their souls.
We also praise you that we are not alone in laboring for the gospel here in our city. We thank you for the faithful gospel presence of Church of the Resurrection and Christ our Shepherd. We praise you for the gospel ministry of The Bridge, GraceDC and Grace Meridian Hill. We thank you for faithful collegiate ministries like Chi-Alpha, CRU and Campus Outreach. Father, we thank you for the American Friends ministry; thank you for our brother K who tirelessly pours into that work. This upcoming school year use American Friends to develop genuine friendship and spread the gospel far and wide.
Father, as we listen to your word this morning, open up our hearts and minds to understand and move our wills to joyfully obey all that you call us to do. In the name of Jesus we offer these prayers. Amen.
Our first Family Worship Sunday is scheduled for this Sunday July 13. What is that you ask? Keep reading to find out.
Restoration Kids exists to partner with parents in the discipleship process. We desire to disciple children by teaching them the truths of God’s redeeming grace in the classroom and in corporate worship. One of our goals in the classroom is to prepare children for the transition of worshiping God in the corporate service with their parents.
With that goal in mind, Restoration Church will periodically host Family Worship Sundays. On these specific Sundays, the older children’s class, currently K-2nd Grade, will stay for the entirety of the main service. This will create an opportunity to train our children to worship corporately, both as members of our immediate families and the family of God.
As we gather together with all ages singing songs of adoration and hearing the supremacy of Christ proclaimed in the Scriptures, let us remember that we are being the Church and displaying God’s glory to the kids of Restoration. The sermon may be shorter, the service may seem livelier than ever but the gospel will be proclaimed to all ages as we gather to worship from oldest to youngest.
For the Parents: The standard of conduct and behavior for your child will not be perfect on Family Worship Sundays. Your kids will actually act their age in the service. There will be distractions and chatter but that is good for the rest of the church to see and hear. Your children are an evidence of God’s grace to our congregation. Family Worship will create more opportunities to talk about the gospel with your kids including the importance of corporately gathering, worshiping God through music and the preaching of God’s Word along with reasons for the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Family Worship Sundays will also enable parents to be grateful for those who disciple their children each week in Restoration Kids as they have the privilege and responsibility of training children to worship corporately.
For the Children: The kids of Restoration bring an energy and joy to the rest of the church body that reminds us of life in our church. Children will see the reality and benefit of worshiping with their parents and others in the congregation. They will realize that mom and dad and the rest of the church are just as much in need of Christ as they are. Children will have the chance to watch their parents and those who disciple them in children’s ministry worship God together and in return see the need for corporate worship. Our prayer is that Family Worship Sundays will be another way to open the hearts of the kids God has entrusted to Restoration Church so they can understand the character of God and walk in the goodness of His grace from an early age.
For the Church: Family worship Sundays will help those who do not have families see the importance of family. It is good for the rest of us to see and hear the children in our church because it calls us to pray for them, disciple them and care for their souls. It is an opportunity to see our greater church family at it’s finest. The service will be unfiltered with the visuals and noises that children provide. It is a chance to be blessed by the unpredictability that is family. It’s another aspect of biblical community marked by togetherness. Worshiping with all ages will help us as a church see even more the importance and responsibility to make disciples who make disciples. As a church, may we think about it not as a distraction but something that endears us to one another and magnifies Christ as His body.
Join us in praying that God will use these sweet times of corporate worship to exalt Christ, build up our church, and impart the gospel to the littlest ones at Restoration Church.
Lord, we come to you this morning; you are our Shepherd, we shall not want. You make us lie down in green pastures; you lead us beside still waters; you restore our souls. You lead us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. This world is broken, and at times it feels like we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In those times, we will fear no evil, for you are with us; your rod and your staff they comfort us. Through Christ you bring us into your presence and in him our cup overflows. In Christ, surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of you, our great and gracious Lord, forever and ever.
What an amazing truth – to know that in Christ all your promises are “Yes!” Father, we confess that apart from Jesus we are not just bad, but we are dead being separated from you, the Giver of life. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that’s now at work among all the disobedient. Apart from Jesus, we follow the passions of our flesh, carrying out every desire of our body and our mind. We act on our lusts and give into our greed; we condemn others thinking we are better; we anxiously worry not trusting in you; we are lazy seeking our own comfort. Lord God Almighty, in our sin we find you dull and boring. And because of our sin, left to ourselves, we are children of wrath deserving your righteous judgment.
But, you in your infinite grace, being rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ. By grace we have been saved! Oh, how we praise you for your majestic mercy and glorious grace. Oh, how we praise you for Jesus – his life, death, burial and resurrection. Oh, how we praise you that your Holy Spirit seals us with the promise of the gospel. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. All this to the praise of your glorious grace!
And not only have you redeemed us from our sin, but you have sent us on mission to proclaim your excellencies, to herald the good news of the gospel. We pray that we would be a church filled with men and women who eagerly speak the gospel to one another; that we often remind each other of Jesus and relate to one another in the bond of the gospel; that we would continued to be united in Christ Jesus. We pray that you would use our ministry to see others come to faith in Jesus; that as the gospel goes forth from our lips you would bring people to life in Christ. Yes, Lord, do this for the glory of your name. We pray that you would use our church to start a Spanish speaking church in Columbia Heights. Yes, Lord, do this for the glory of your name. We pray that you would raise many men and women up from this church to take the gospel to unreached peoples – people like the XX in XX. Yes, Lord, do this for the glory of your name.
Father we pray for countries like Iraq and Syria; countries were war and turmoil abound. We know we live in a sin-filled, broken world even if we are isolated from some of the most devastating, gruesome violence. We pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in these countries; give them much grace to hold fast to Christ. Remind them this day of your promise in Hebrews 13, you will never, no never, leave them or forsake them.
Father we pray for our own government. Give our leaders wisdom and insight as they make decisions that effect not only this country but those around the world. We pray for our president. In your kindness Lord, grant President Obama a sense of justice and wisdom that he would rule in keeping with your character. We pray for congress, for state and local officials. We pray for first responders and for our military. We praise you for the many men and women who serve us in these various capacities giving us a country of peace. Help us continue to not be presumptuous, but thank you for these servants and praise you for this gift of grace. Help us to not be lazy in our faith simply because we can freely worship you; cause us to be all the more zealous in our pursuit of Christ.
We praise you for other churches here in DC that faithfully proclaim the gospel. We thank you for our brother Aaron Graham and ask that you would give him much grace to faithfully pastor The District Church. Use that body to make much of Jesus. And we pray for Del Ray Baptist and Redeemer Arlington; continue to pour your grace upon these churches that they might make disciples that delight in the supremacy of Christ.
Father, for the sake of your name, use the rest of our time gathered here this morning to shape and mold us. As we listen to your word, convict us of specific sin, encourage us in our faithfulness, call us back where we are wayward. Do all this by leading us to our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
Holy, majestic and mighty God we gather there this morning to praise your name. Your way is perfect. Your word proves true. You are a shield for all who take refuge in you. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. And your name is most hallowed in person and work of Jesus Christ. By the indwelling presence of your Holy Spirit saturate our souls and stir our affections for Jesus. May his grace shape us; may his sacrificial love motivate us; may his death humble us; may his resurrection overwhelm; may his gospel delight us; may his mission overflow through us.
We pray this morning for Restoration City Church, and for J and D as they begin to plant that church. Give them much grace in these early days as they work through the logistics of trying to start a church. And give them, and all those connected to Restoration City Church, a great zeal to know and share Christ. We also pray for Capitol Hill Baptist and Grace DC and Christ Reformed Church. May these churches faithfully shepherd your people and seek that make disciple making disciples.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray for those peoples around the globe that have not heard of the name of Jesus. We pray for the 588 language groups in SE Asia that do not have the Scriptures. Bring your word to these peoples we pray. And we pray for the 43MM Rajput Hindis in India and the 17MM Isan in Thailand. For the glory of your name, raise up missionaries to carry the gospel to these peoples.
Father often times we are so concerned with our own little lives, we neglect to think and pray for those who do not know you. Our hearts are often cold toward your global glory. Forgives our sin, we pray. Give us hearts that yearn to make Christ known locally and globally. We pray for our brothers A and L as they finished up their work among the T people. In these last few months give them great grace to finish well and praise you for all that you’ve done in and through them.
We pray for our own church; make us a people marked with a supreme delight in Christ; a people who make disciples of our Lord Jesus. As we study your word this morning, use it to shape us and strengthen us and sustain us. Use your word this morning to exhort the wayward, comfort to afflicted, encourage the weary, and spur on the faithful. We pray for our efforts to plant a Spanish speaking church in Columbia Heights. Use the Bible study already taking place to draw men and women to yourself. And we pray for our continued efforts to strengthen Haitian pastors. We thank you for the funds our people raised to translate What is a Healthy Church? and pray for Pastor Enel as he finalizes that translation. For the fame of Jesus, use this resource to strengthen Haitian Churches that they might plant more and more healthy churches.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray for the continued unity of our church. Help us reflect you – God the Father, Son and Spirit in perfect loving unity. May we be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit of the bond of peace. We praise you for the way this church body sacrificially serves one another; that’s an evidence of your grace and we thank you for that. Help us to be quick to confess and repent of our sin. Help us to be quick to forgive one another. Fill us with your Spirit that we might be a community marked by humility and grace and compassion and zeal for Christ.
We pray this morning for our brother R. Give him an increasing joy knowing that he has been ransomed by Christ Jesus. May your word be sweet to him this week. And we pray for N and A. We praise you for the many ways they serve our church. Use their marriage to reflect the gospel of Christ. And we pray that as they raise J and E in the Lord, you would save these two little boys for the glory of your name.
And we pray for ourselves. We gather here this morning knowing that we fall short of your glory, short of perfection, short of worshipping you and you alone. In fact, if we’re honest, we know that we don’t just fall short but we, at times, willingly rebel against you. We knowingly lie trying to protect our name. We chase sexual immorality and looking for companionship. We burst out in anger trying to right where we think we’ve been wronged. We self-righteously compare and condemn trying to prove our goodness. We pursue drunkenness and getting high looking for pleasure or escape. Father, in these ways and more we have sinned against you. We are sorry. We repent of our sin. We trust in Christ knowing that only he can cover our sin and bring us back to you. Thank you for the sin-bearing death of Jesus and his sin-defeating resurrection. It is in Christ that you are our Rock and Refuge, our Savior and Deliverer. We praise you in the name of Christ. Amen.
Here is a prayer to pray before taking the Lord’s Supper:
Father, we come to you, we come to this table, relying only upon the finished work of our gracious Redeemer and only King, Jesus Christ. We come confessing and forsaking our sins – forgive us our greed and gossiping; forgive us our lust and laziness; forgive us our pride and selfish anger; forgive us our bitterness and unforgiveness. We repent of these sins. By your Holy Spirit, apply the salve of the gospel to our hearts, to our minds; point us not to our sin, but to our Savior.
We come to this Table in need. We come to this Table to be refreshed from battles with sin. We need to be fed again. We need to receive the sustenance that only Christ can give us. By faith at this table you meet us in Christ, and we receive the nourishment we need as we take this broken bread and juice, as we remember the Jesus’ atoning work for sinners and weaklings like us; and we look forward to the hope of heaven, your forever Kingdom where, with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’ll eat and drink anew in your glorious presence. Amen.