On June 6th, some members of Restoration Church partnered with DC Family & Youth Initiative (DCFYI) to encourage meaningful relationships between adults and teens in foster care. This transpired at an event centered around learning how to paint on canvas using stencils. RC sponsored the purchase of acrylic paint, brushes, and canvases to allow for a successful day. Event organization and lesson planning were provided by members of our church, who were inspired by the presentation made by DC127 to minister to foster children.
DC 127’s mission is “to unite churches with organizations, government agencies, and businesses in DC around recruiting and supporting foster and adoptive families so that no child is waiting for a home.” Most people think the primary ways to support children in foster care are to adopt or become foster parents. These are certainly very important and critically needed roles, but there are many other ways to support the community that range in levels of commitment. Other ways include opening up your home for a month or two to a foster child in need of a safe family, babysitting, respite care, event planning, fundraising, and mentoring (DCFYI and other agencies).
DC Family & Youth Initiative builds a fantastic community for foster teens. They have a mentoring program, but unlike most organizations they do not “match” a teen to an adult randomly. The organization only allows the mentor process to begin if there is a mutual desire between the adult and teen to pursue a mentoring relationship. In order to promote these relationships, DCFYI frequently plans large and small group events. At these events, teens interact with a peer group of other foster teens as well as caring adults. Examples of events range from zip-lining, to Fruit Olympics, cooking, and in our case a day of painting using stencils on canvas.
The art event was held at The Corner Store Arts venue on South Carolina and 9th Street and was well attended. Several new adults and couples came, as well as a handful of new and returning teens. We laid out tables and colorful tablecloths, set out the canvases & paint, and lined up a wide array of stencil options from basketball players to cherry blossoms, tigers, and everything in between. A lesson on layout, technique, and color schemes was provided, and the group set to task! We watched as teens and adults interacted with each other, painting side by side.
One teen did particularly well with his canvas. He listened to the instructions and chose a hummingbird stencil, then carefully planned out his composition. He painted his canvas solid metallic gold, and with the upmost care he stenciled the hummingbird in black. The edges were perfect, and he was able to bond with one of the mentors over his success. The finished project was strikingly gorgeous, and he was very pleased. Moments like this are precious to witness. DCFYI’s events allow the teens to build trust with adults leading to mentoring, friendship, and sometimes adoption.
Thank you Restoration Church for allowing trust to grow in the lives of those who have had so little to trust in. Please pray for relationships that point to the only one who is truly trustworthy.
Great and glorious Father, we come to you this morning freshly aware of our brokenness and the world’s messiness. In the midst of pain and persecution, the middle of trials and tribulation, we praise you because we know you are good. You are sovereign and mighty. Your thoughts are beyond our thoughts; your ways better than our ways. Remind us of your unwavering faithfulness. We come to you this morning poor and needy; weak and wounded; sick and sore. On this Father’s Day, we praise you that you are a faithful Father; we praise you that you are a Father to the fatherless.
We praise you for our brothers and sisters at Charleston’s Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. What a vibrant gospel testimony they have been in the midst of horrific tragedy. Father, we praise you that the gospel has so gripped members of Emmanuel AME Church that they are able to look at the man who murdered their family members and say, “I forgive you.” Father, we praise you for the boundless, surpassing love found in the gospel of our Lord. We pray for this church family and the nine families dealing with the loss of loved ones this morning. Grant them to be strengthened Father; fill them with the Holy Spirit; give them the grace to grieve with hope; help them be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer. We pray for Dylan Roof. Use this grace shown to him to overwhelm him and see the beauty of the gospel.
Lord, we are daily bombarded with news of crisis and death and disease. We long for Jesus to return. Come, Lord Jesus, come. We long for the Day of no more hate crimes, no more natural disasters, no more terrorist attacks, no more death, no more waiting for hope to be fulfilled. Father, we rejoice in hope because of Jesus’ empty tomb; we will be patient in tribulation because Jesus has overcome evil; we will be constant in prayer because Jesus is on the throne of heaven. We praise, bless, and adore you, Father.
Father, we’re mindful this morning of our good you have appointed public rulers and government authorities. Give the lawmakers and law-enforcers of this land a sense of justice and wisdom. We pray for those in all levels of government – congress, mayors, governors. Have them to be men and women of integrity and honesty in all their dealings; let wisdom enter their hearts, and let knowledge be pleasant to them; make their hearts and ears attentive to godly counsel. Give all world-wide leaders and rulers a spirit of unity, a spirit that longs for best interest of the people as a whole.
Holy Lord, we praise you for the hope of the gospel. We pray this gospel message would spread among the Behdini Kurds and in the schemes of Scotland and among Haitian pastors and churches. We pray this gospel message would take root among the Spanish speakers in Columbia Heights. We pray for our brother, A, and his family this morning. Use them to faithfully build up their church in Venezuela. And we ask, for the glory of your name, that their visa would be approved soon that they might come to DC. Providentially work that your name might be increasingly hallowed in Columbia Heights.
Lord God Almighty, we praise you for the way the Holy Spirit is bearing fruit in our midst, among the people of our church. Give us the grace to continue to love one another sacrificially and treat each other better than ourselves. Help us not to fight for our own personal preferences, but to constantly rejoice in the gospel. Let us put away all bitterness and anger and slander, along with all malice. Cause us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us. Use our church to be a visible representation of the gospel displaying your manifold wisdom and glory.
We thank you for the Nali family and praise you for the many ways they serve our church body. Give D the grace to lead his family well, and along with M, may they raise I, M and E in the gospel of our Lord. We pray for B. and L. K. Grow them in grace and continue to use their marriage to display Christ’s love for the church. We pray for F.D and J.J and J.K. and J. S. Grow them in their love for Christ, rooting and grounding them in love that they might build up the body until we all attain unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Father, we’re mindful this morning of our sin against you and against each other. We have been impatient and disrespectful; selfish and immoral. We have been quick to lash out in anger but slow to forgive in grace. We have lied and deceived one another. We confess our sin and ask you to fill us with the Holy Spirit that we might forsake our sin. We praise you for the blood of Christ and the redemption and forgiveness found in him. We rest in Jesus this morning. We will arise and go to Jesus. It’s in the strong loving name of Jesus, we pray.
You are the Sovereign Creator of the whole earth. Your majesty and power are revealed in the mountain peaks and the vast oceans. We look up into the night sky and behold the moon and the stars and contemplate how great you are – and how small we are.
You have also revealed to us your love. We see this most clearly in your redemption plan – to reconcile all things to yourself in Christ. You have shown us the extent of your love in sending your son to give himself as a ransom for us. Redeemed from our sins, you have made us your children. We are members of your family and can call you Father.
This morning reflect especially how the light of your glory and grace will reach to the ends of the earth – that people from every tribe and language and people and nation will become worshippers.
You are gathering a people for yourself to display your glory.
Forgive us, Lord, that we are often so small minded. So much of the time we are motivated by goals and desires so much lower than your grand plans and purposes. We pursue the dream of a perfect family, a perfect house, a perfect spouse. We seek satisfaction in the good things that your give us and also the things you prohibit. Forgive us, Lord.
Forgive us too, where we do not care about those who do not know you. We see people both near and far who do not have the light of your glory shining on them – and we are indifferent. Help us to be jealous for your fame to be known and rejoiced in – whether in Washington DC or the cities of Northern Iraq.
To that end we pray for those who labor to bring your gospel to those who have not heard. Specifically pray for the family serving amongst the Kurdish people:
- As Ramadan begins for muslims, we pray that there would be many opportunities for them to talk about the gospel.
- Pray for their language learning – increasingly be able to explain spiritual truths.
- Pray for A – a neighbor who R knows. That their friendship would grow and that R would be able share the gospel clearly with him.
- We pray for unity amongst local Kurdish believers – that they would love and trust one another. Ask that you would birth a Kurdish led church.
- Pray for the family. Sustain them in the midst of the particular pressures of living in this context. Health and protection.
- Thank you for the family that is planning to join them – we ask that the preparations would go smoothly and that they would be helpful partners with the other workers in this city.
Pray for the 20 Schemes project in Scotland:
- Ask that the good news would reach the poor in these deprived communities and be a beacon of hope to many.
- Pray for those from our midst who plan to go out and serve this ministry in a few weeks – for opportunities to encourage the both the workers and the locals in the schemes.
Pray also for the Columbia Heights Spanish speaking church plant:
- Thank you for A and his family and their willingness to come and serve in this venture. Pray that you would help them to trust you as they wait for the VISA process and that you would prepare them for what lies ahead.
- For Spanish speaking community of CH. Ask you would be softening hearts and preparing people to hear about Jesus and put their trust in him. Opportunities for relationships to be built and good conversations.
Ourselves as a congregation:
- May we be faithful in obeying your mandate to bring the gospel to all nations. Whether this be our neighbors, co-workers, friends or family members.
- Provide opportunities for conversations this week we pray. May words be given to us that we would fearlessly proclaim the good news about Jesus. May our conversations be full of grace and seasoned with salt.
- Help us to be faithful in partnering with those who are engaged with Missions in a more full time capacity.
“You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the church for your mother.”
(200-258; Carthage [modern day Tunisia])
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.
Our next Family Worship Sunday is this Sunday, June 14th. 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.
This past Sunday we looked at the Lord’s Supper, and in doing so we saw that this covenant meal was birthed in the context of the Jewish Passover. In his book The Atonement, Leon Morris insightfully writes:
On the last night of his life Jesus inaugurated a service, the Holy Communion, which we may profitably compare with the Passover. There are of course significant differences… But there are important resemblances. In both there is the solemn liturgical use of bread and wine. In both there is the solemn commemoration of the past. In both there is a living hope for the future.
We may fairly say that the institution of Holy Communion, in the way in which it was done at Passover time, directs our attention to certain important aspects of our Lord’s saving work. It has us looking back to God’s great act at Calvary and it has us looking forward to the time when Christ will come again to bring his saving work to it’s consummation. And it brings out something of the communal nature of the Christian way, for it is a service which looks for the participation of the whole local group of believers…
What the Passover sacrifice signifies for the Jews, that and more Christ’s sacrifice has done for the Christians. It emphasizes the thought of deliverance, deliverance from a powerful enemy. Because Jesus died as a Passover sacrifice those who trust in him or no longer subject to the forces of evil. They have been delivered. They are free.
And Passover reminds us that we are members of one another. Passover was a corporate observance, a feast to be celebrated in the company of others. Both in the Old Testament and in contemporary Judaism the Passover was to be observed in companies [of families]. The observance stressed the truth that God’s salvation is not purely an individual experience. The deliverance from Egypt marked the birth of a nation, the emergence of the people of God. The deliverance on the cross marked the emergence of the true Israel, the people of God in more than a merely national sense. Now the people of God are plainly seen as all those who have been delivered by Christ, from whatever nation they may come. They are no longer slaves to sin. They belong to God into one another in the fellowship of the redeemed people of God, for “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:17).
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Majestic and mighty God spread the fame of your glory to all tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations. For your namesake, O Lord, cause your name and your renown to be gloriously glorified and greatly delighted in. We praise your holy name this morning. We sing to you this morning. Let all things their Creator bless, and worship him in humbleness. Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son and praise the Spirit, three in One. Yes, Lord we praise your name and plead with you to cause your fame to spread locally and globally.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Lord God Almighty reign supreme in our lives as we wait for the consummation of the Kingdom. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that Restoration Church may be a foretaste of the Kingdom to come. Give us the grace to be a city on a hill, to be the light of the world. We pray for R and E as they labor for the gospel in Northern Iraq. Give them grace to treasure Christ above uncomfortable circumstances. Help them learn the language so they can communicate and develop deepening friendships. We pray for 20Schemes and their labors for the gospel among the poor in Scotland. Use Pete S. and Pete B. to plant a gospel-thriving church in Barlanark. Use Andrew M. to plant a Christ-exalting church in Lochee.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Righteous God help us joyfully obey your commands. Fill us with the Holy Spirit that we can love one another, pursue righteousness, be holy, love our spouse, be humble, abstain from sexual immorality, be generous stewards, be diligent servants, make disciples, worship you with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Make our church be a place where personal preferences are secondary to gospel priority.
Give us this day our daily bread. Father, we come to your in prayer expressing our deep trust in you, knowing that you’re a good Father who gives good gifts to your children. Even when you don’t give us what we want, help us see that you never fail to provide what we need. Keep us from allowing the comforts around us to dull us to our ever-present need of you. Never let us forget that every meal we eat, every time we get dressed, every bed we sleep in, and every hour we work is a gift from you. Satisfy us with righteousness and remind us you are our portion forever.
We pray your gracious provision would warm the affections of P.C. and S. L. and N.O. this week. Feed them through your word and satisfy their souls in Christ Jesus. We pray for R. & C. R – may their marriage vividly display Christ’s love for the church as they mutually encourage one another and grow in godliness.
We praise you for the birth of Hazel Jane. Help our church meet the needs of the H family as they lean to be a family of five. Give Chris the grace to love and serve his wife well. And we ask that you’d meet the greatest need for A, L and H. Save them at a young age Lord that they’d never know life apart from you.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We confess our iniquity; we are sorry for our sin. Have mercy on us, O God. We confess that we often love food and job titles and material possessions more than you. We confess that we look to romantic relationships and alcohol and illegal substances and good looks for satisfaction. We confess that we crave approval, power, respect, and comfort and are willing to sin to get them. Though you have freed us from slavery to sin, we often wander back into bondage to hard taskmasters that only leave us feeling empty, alone, and full of shame. Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin! For Your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon our guilt.
We come not focused on our sin, but on Jesus our Savior. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become his righteousness. He humbled himself and carried the cross. His body the bread, his blood the wine; Broken and poured out all for love. Jesus Messiah, Lord of all. All our hope is in you. Now our debt is paid, it is paid in full. See the stone is rolled away. Behold the empty tomb. Hallelujah, God be praised. He is risen from the grave.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from Evil. Help us take up the whole armor of God that we can withstand the schemes of the devil, praying at all times in the Spirit that we might keep alert and persevere. For the glory of Your name, deliver us and atone for our sins, for Your name’s sake. Keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of your glory with great joy.
For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.
In 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 Paul commands us to examine ourselves before partaking the Lord’s Supper to ensure we do not eat and drink in an unworthy manner. In his Institutes, John Calvin provides input on what this means:
[P]aul commands a man to examine himself before he eats this bread and drinks this cup (1 Cor. 11:28). I take this to mean that each should look within and reflect whether with heartfelt trust he acknowledges Jesus Christ as his Savior, and confesses him as a Savior with his lips; whether, following Christ example, he is ready to give himself to his brothers and to be bound to those whom he knows to have Jesus Christ in common; whether, in acknowledging Christ, he also holds all his brothers to be members of his body; whether he is willing and prepared to relieve, preserve and assist them as he would his own members.
It is not that these duties of faith and love can be fully realized in us now, but because we must strive and desire with all our might that faith, once begun, may daily grow and prosper in us, and our weak love grow strong…If it is a matter of finding worthiness in ourselves, we are finished, for there we find only doom and destruction!…
Lest we ourselves fall headlong to our ruin, let us learn that this holy food is medicine for the sick, consolation for sinners and alms for the poor, but is of no use to the healthy, the upright and the rich, if any such exist. For since in the sacrament Jesus Christ is given to us as food, we plainly see that apart from him we fail and are utterly lost. Since, also, he has given to us as life, we know that apart from him we are wholly dad in ourselves. Hence the only real worth which we bring to God is to offer him out unworthiness and vileness so that, in his mercy, he may make us worthy of him…
To demand perfection in order to receive the sacrament betrays of appalling arrogance, not to say stupidity, for it would make it useless and superfluous. It was not instituted for the perfect but for the weak and feeble, so as to awaken, prompt, rouse and exercise whatever their faith and love might lack.
In a word, we are “worthy” to come to the Lord’s Table when we realize that in ourselves we are unworthy. We are “worthy” when the gospel is our only hope to commune with God.