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Foster parents provide a safe, nurturing home for children or teens temporarily separated from their families through no fault of their own. Join us to pray for these children and the families who will open their homes to show them the love of our great God!

Not everyone can foster, but everyone can pray for 1,200+ kids in DC’s foster care system, including the 200+ kids waiting to be adopted.

  1. Children need families.
  2. Families need support.
  3. Everyone can do something to make that happen.
  4. Pray with us.

Join us at the Woodrow Wilson High School auditorium on Tuesday, August 19th @ 7pm as we praise God and pray for Him to move among some of the most vulnerable in our city.

 

To love is to be…vulnerable. CS Lewis insightfully writes:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we give you praise this morning. Your grace is tangible to our church, not only as we welcome new members, but also in the numerous ways you’ve equipped our church body to serve and care for one another. For the glory of your name, for the honor of Christ Jesus, would you by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit continue to grant us gospel unity and deep fellowship with one another. Give us the grace to lay personal preferences that we might strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. Give us the humility to confess our sins against one another and to forgive each other. Give us the compassion to hold each other accountable to pursuing holiness. Keep us from legalism and condemning judgments. Build us up into Christ Jesus, we pray.

And as we pray for our church we’re mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world; we are particularly mindful of those being ruthlessly persecuted in Iraq. Father, we confess that we do not know how to pray for our brothers and sister, but you promise to help us in our weakness, so we come in faith knowing your Spirit will guide our prayers. Help them to believe that while they may be snatched from their homes, they shall never be snatched from the hand of your Son. Help them to believe that when they flee, that they can flee to you because you are good and stand as a refuge for them in their day of trouble. Help them have courage to proclaim the gospel to those who are doing them harm, and may you use their witness to turn terrorists into worshippers of the One true God. Help them to rest in the promise that one day soon you will take them to that glorious land where tears and death and mourning and fear shall be no more.

And we’re mindful, not just of Christians in this region, but all your image bearers, the Yazidis and Assyrians and others, suffering violence at the vengeful hands of ISIS. Grant these men and women, boys and girls, the basic necessities for life: food, water, shelter. Give them safety as they flee their homes and walk dozens of miles looking for refuge. And we also pray for the war in Israel and Palestine. Lord God Almighty, we plead with you to bring an end this turmoil and destruction. We plead with you to use these horrible events to draw many men and women to yourself. Turn the hearts of many members of ISIS that they might worship you, the one true living God. Save many Israelis and Palestinians that they might know you, and know true ultimate lasting peace. Yes, Lord, we plead with you to work, and above all things to hallow your name; your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Father, we pray for our sister Rachel as she’s in another part of the world, experiencing another kind of brokenness. Give her much grace during her mission trip; allow her to rekindle friendships and give her many opportunities to speak the gospel of grace to those hurting. Father, cause your goodness and sovereignty to saturate her mind and soak her soul that she might be your vessel.

We pray for our own church as we labor to speak the gospel to those around us here in DC. Give each member of Restoration Church an opportunity to share the gospel with a friend or classmate or co-worker or neighbor this week. Give us the grace to speak the gospel boldly and humbly to those around us. Use our ministry to bring others to faith in Jesus that they too might have the fullness of joy. We pray for our labors in Columbia Heights. Continue to use the Wednesday night Bible study to form relationships in the community. For the glory of your name, bring us a bi-lingual man that could lead the efforts to plant a Spanish speaking church.

Triune God, as we pray all these things we’re mindful that you are a God who not just takes requests, but deserves to be worshiped. So we praise you. We praise you that you are sovereign and good. We praise you that you are gracious and merciful. We praise you that you created the fresh smell of flowers and the sweet taste of honey. We praise you that you are unchanging and eternal. We praise you that you are all powerful and all knowing. We praise you for you are supreme and all satisfying. We praise you that you are infinite yet intimate. We praise you that you created the beauty of each sunset and the tingles of fall’s cool breeze. We praise you that you are self-sufficient and full of splendor. We praise you for you are majestic and beautiful. We praise you that you created us. We praise you that though we all sin against you, you pursue us in Christ Jesus. We praise you that Jesus lived a perfect live. We praise you that Jesus died a sin-bearing, debt canceling, wrath propitiating death. We praise you that Jesus victoriously and triumphantly rose from the dead on the third day. We praise you that you grant us repentance and faith that we might draw near to you in Christ. Forgive us our sin we pray that we might know the fullness of joy in Christ Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

In order to truly forgive others, we need to understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. In this article, “From Your Heart…Forgive,” Aaron Sorani does a superb job of helping us understand they command to forgiven and complexities of forgiving. Here are a few excerpts:

Forgiving others is a crucial aspect of our new life in Christ. It is a natural and daily token of our gratitude for his salvation.

 

We should not wait for our feelings to catch up to our need to forgive. They may never catch up.

 

Because refusing to forgive is about self-protection and revenge, we must be willing to test ourselves if we are unwilling to forgive. Can you articulate why you refuse to forgive this person?

 

If we don’t know and understand the immensity of our own debts of sin, we don’t have a chance of having forgiving hearts.

In talking about forgiveness we cant help but think about what often comes before forgiveness…”intense moments of fellowship” or what we might otherwise call fights/arguments, etc.

In Ephesians 4.15 we see Paul instruct the church in Ephesus in “speaking the truth in love we are to grow up into him who is our head, into Christ”. This verse provides a good model on how to discuss matters of sensitivity that may otherwise lead to anger that is coupled with sin.

Speaking the Truth Without Love:

Oftentimes when we confront a loved one about something they have done wrong we can justify our volatility by the truthfulness of how they sinned against us. However, Paul here instructs us that truth without love is not growing up into Christ, and therefore it grows apart from Him.

Christ did not bludgeon us with the truth of our sin, but He coupled it with tenderness and kindheartedness as well as patience. Therefore, when we speak truth to those we love, we must do so with love, doing otherwise is not in keeping with Christ

Loving without speaking the Truth:

Loving without speaking the Truth is of the realm of sentimentality and it does not grow up into Him who is our head. Indeed, you do not love unless you speak the truth.

Building healthy relationships that do not discuss the Truth of our relationships, both the good and bad betray the nature of Love. Christ loved us by speaking the truth to us. Therefore, if you do not speak the truth, you do not love.

In short, then, growing up into Him who is our head demands that when we are sinned against, we speak the truth in love to one another in keeping with how Christ spoke/dealt with us. To do otherwise is to deny the Gospel.

Where were we when we you laid the Earth’s foundation? Who marked off its dimensions? Who has numbered every grain of sand?

God, your works are too great for our minds to comprehend. You are far above us, and we praise you, because you are a God who is completely capable, not lacking in anything and fully able to accomplish all things. You are always in control, and you are always faithful, and you have promised to never leave us. You are with us now, and you have given us great joy this morning, as we received new mercies from you. Even though you are great and faithful, we ignore you and seek our own ways.

We boast of our own accomplishments, wanting others to think more highly of us. We fail to recognize that our worth comes not from what we accomplish but from being created in your image. What do we have that has not been given to us?

Ignoring, you the Giver, we have blinded ourselves with our own sense of importance and have been short with our spouses, roommates, bosses, and employees. We have not loved them as people who were designed by you in your own image.

Even as we struggle with high views of ourselves, we attribute too much importance to how others view us. We worry about what people who are smarter, more powerful or more popular think of us, while ignoring how You, the Most High, feel about us.

Lord, by the blood of your Son, would you please forgive us? God, even as we have been unfaithful to you, we are thankful that You continue to be true to us.

We thank you for answering prayers in providing a job for E.L. this week in this neighborhood, and we pray that she would glorify Christ in her position as a teacher and be a blessing to children and families she meets at her school. We thank you also for A.B., L.B., A.F. and other Christians in our midst who care for children in this city.

And we thank you for the many single men in this congregation who encourage us and point us to you. We thank you for G.P. and E.P., and we pray that you would use these men to do even greater things in this congregation.

God we thank you for the work of other faithful churches. We praise you for All Nations DC, and their care for international students in this area. And we praise you also for the gathering of believers that takes place in prisons in this area. Would you please give our incarcerated brothers and sisters a presence for you in a dark place?

Father, most of all, we thank you most for the Gift of your Son, Jesus Christ who has bought us at a price.
Because we have seen you to be a good God, we can trust you with our requests.

Dear Father, we pray for the 50 heads of state from Africa who will gather here this week, and we ask that you would bless the meetings and give them wisdom in governing their countries.

We are thankful for the many prayers you have answered in increasing prosperity in Africa. In particular, we thank you for the great reduction in child mortality over the past two decades. Your heart for the poor and the weak is clear in your Word, God. Would you please bless this region with greater economic opportunity so that the poor may provide? And would you use your church in Africa to provide your Word and gospel preaching churches to the more than 100 unreached people groups in Nigeria alone?

We also pray today for our congregation. We pray in particular for those among us who have unsatisfied sexual desires. When our desires conflict with what is clearly stated in your Word, would you help us see that our heart longings can only be satisfied in you? When we struggle with loneliness, would you show us that you are near? Would you please help us as a congregation to have compassion for those who are struggling acutely in this area? And even as we continue to struggle in this life, please point us to the reality of eternity in heaven, where our joy will be complete in Christ.

God, we thank you that you enjoy hearing our prayers, and we pray this in your Son’s name. Amen.

Some of you have asked me for helpful resources in thinking through the gift of singleness and pursuit of marriage. Here are a few that I (Joey) have found helpful:

Momentary Marriage: This book by John Piper is about marriage, but it’s not just about marriage. He also has some helpful and encouraging words for our unmarried brothers and sisters. Specifically chapters 9 & 10 are helpful in showcasing the glory of Christ in singleness.

Single In Christ: A Name Better Than Sons & Daughters: This sermon, which is essentially chapter 9 from the above book, examines being unmarried in light of God’s eternal plans for his people.

The Meaning of Marriage: Similar to the above, this book by Tim & Kathy Keller mainly focuses on marriage; however, they also do a wonderful job of thinking through singleness and the pursuit of marriage. While the whole book is worth reading, the Introduction and chapter 7 are especially helpful for those who are not currently married.

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ: This book contains several articles/chapters by various authors, many of which you will know well and others you’re not all familiar with. Chapters 1-3, 6, and 8 provide both theological and practical teaching regarding singleness.

Sex, Dating and Relationships: This book’s aim is to reform how you think about dating relationships; and I think there’s a lot of good wisdom here. I certainly do not agree with everything they write, but the overarching message of the book might be helpful for those who desire to pursue marriage in a God-honoring way.

In addition to these books, many other resources can be found at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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.

© 2015 Restoration Church
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