Meet the Westrom Family as they invite us into their home to learn more about their family and their love for the Advent season.
Magnificent God and Father, we greet you this morning with glad, yet some of us, troubled hearts. We recognize you as the Supreme Being. The Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. The Author of all good things. The Maker and Sustainer of the Universe, the One for Whom All things must answer to. You, God, are the Greatest of all Realities…nothing finds its meaning without you. We praise you for all that you have been and will be for us in Jesus.
We pray with heavy hearts. Some of us pray Believing, yet we need help in our Unbelief.
Some of us pray in glad hearted praise and some of us pray in poor hearted anguish.
Some of us pray wondering if you are real and some of us pray having been leveled this week by your presence and all encompassing reality.
If we were to search for Love, Hope, Peace, and Kindness, Safety and Security…where would we go? To WHOM would we go? There is no field, no fortune, and no figure that we can confidently approach and find these things but in you.
So, some with trembling knees and some with guilt ridden consciences and some with peace filled hearts we enter the veil, this morning. Oh how good it is to know that inside this veil, we are welcomed by you God, because we come pleading the Blood of Christ. He alone is what makes it possible to be heard…so hear us, we pray Lord…hear us as we sit at your feet…pleading!
Pleading forgiveness from our sins. Would you forgive us Lord for our prayerlessness this past week? We wake up and hurry about our days hardly taking any notice of you. We give ourselves to accomplishing tasks without hardly taking any mind of you. We claim to be in Christ and yet we hardly even speak to You…and yet we are quick to speak to a thousand lesser loves in a given day. We would rather play games or suffer the news on our phones riding to work than we would to pray. We would rather listen to music at the conclusion of our days than we would like to sit in silent reflection on the innumerable ways your mercies met us.
If some of us were being honest, I’m sure that we might confess to you that the reason we don’t pray is because it seems to accomplish very little. It is a waste of time…a rude, obligatory task that is akin to cleaning the dishes or taking out the trash. Oh, Lord, how much does our prayerlessness reveal about our hearts? The weight is to heavy to consider.
We confess that we would rather watch TV than pray. We confess that we would rather sleep than pray. We confess that we would rather talk to friends than pray. Our hearts are sometimes so twisted…we would rather read the Bible to satisfy our guilty consciences than spend 10 minutes in unhindered prayer towards you. We cannot hardly remember when the last time we fasted was and we certainly cannot call to mind the last time we spent more time in praise and adoration than we did in asking you to fulfill all of our wishes.
Merciful Father…have mercy on your prayerless children…like those disciples…not only teach us how to pray…but teach us to ENJOY prayer. In the coming week, give us endurance in prayer…give 5 or 10 of us the opportunity to be refreshed by your presence in prayer. Make it 20 or 30 of us!! Oh God, we beg you…weigh heavy on our consciences this week…REMIND us, that you are no heavy handed Father…but tender hearted friend.
I ask that this church would be a church that is known for its prayer. Not just on Sunday mornings, but on Tuesday nights at CG…and in the bedrooms of those that are married before they lie down to sleep. May we pray over our meals, but may we also pray over offices, our children, and our friends who don’t yet know the glories of Christ. May we pray over the way we spend our money, and the way we spend our times of leisure.
Yes, and Lord…at the risk of sounding contradictory…would you have us to pray in such a way that is not self-seeking? Give us joy in praying for our enemies and for those that rule over us. Give us gladness in praying for things that may never affect us in the least. Remind us that our prayers should reflect Your intentions and not just our own. Remind us in our prayer lives that this world is not about us…and remind us, that the sooner we understand that, the sooner we will know what it means to live before you.
We don’t depend upon you as we ought…we confess that to you…our prayerlessness or our slowness to pray reveals our indifference towards you.
But oh the JOY it is to know…that your forgiveness is as generous as the waters of the oceans. How good it is to know that while we do not pray, you do not withhold your love for us. How good it is to know that while we seem to have so little time for you, you have a great deal of time for us. How good it is to know that your love for us is not dependant upon our love for YOU!!
How good it is to know that with you there is forgiveness…and how good it is to know that forgiveness was accomplished with the blood of your very own Son…who gave us life so that we ruined sinners might have life.
Even as I close this prayer, Lord, remind us that you will be happy to have us visit you again whenever we please. Be glorified in the prayers of your people. Be glorified in the dependance of the Saints at Restoration Church in prayer, this week. Use those prayers this week to not only sanctify us…but use them to remind us of your Infinite Goodness…of your power, and your glory. We love you God…thank you for the privilege of Prayer…receive it in the Name of your Beloved Son who ransomed us to be a people for HIS own possession. We pray in the Name of the One that made prayer possible…Christ Jesus, the Lord…our Hope…our Peace…Amen.
What happens when you desire to go to the global mission field, but all the doors close in your face? Listen to what our brother Andrew learned about God and himself when God said “No” to his “Yes.”
Ethicist and theologian, Dr. Russell Moore, a widely-sought cultural commentator, answered a wide range of questions to help us understand how to live faithfully in these culturally changing times.
Ethicist and theologian, Dr. Russell Moore, a widely-sought cultural commentator, preached from Luke 4 to help us understand the implications of the ever-changing cultural revolution and better equip us to live faithfully in these changing times.
Last Sunday we spent time rejoicing in the truths of Titus 3:1-8. If you happen to miss this sermon, you should listen to it. And wether you have already listened or not, let this excerpt from Tim Chester’s commentary Titus For You warm your soul toward our kind God:
How great is the kindness and love of God? Let’s finish by trying to measure it.
- There is nothing more that he could have given. He has given us himself. He has kindly and lovingly given us his Son (Titus 3:4). And he has graciously poured out on us his Spirit (v 6).
- There is nothing more he could have done. He has done everything. He has justified us, with no cost to us and at great cost to himself (v 7). He has given us new birth; he has renewed us (v 5). Every step of the way, he has provided for us. Everything that was needed and is needed, he has done and is doing.
- There is nothing more that he could have promised. He has promised us eternal life in a world reborn (1:2-3; 3:5-7). He saved us to become heirs, looking forward with certain hope to an eternity of spent enjoying everything that Christ deserves (v 7). This is” the hope of eternal life,” and it is promised by God, “who does not lie.” (1:2)
And to whom does he do all this? Those who were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, living in malice and envy, hating and hated. It is nothing to do with our righteousness, since we have none. It is all to do with his mercy, which is unfathomable (3;4-5).
How are we to respond to the amazing kindness of God?….[W]e can identify four responses:
- Confidence: our salvation rests on what God has done, not on what we do.
- Humility: we have contributed nothing to our salvation.
- Praise: we thank the Father, Son and Spirit for all they have done for us.
- Love: we love God for his kindness to us.
How do you think of God? Kindness and love – rebirth and renewal. That’s the God of the Father, Spirit and Son – and we can live today, and will live eternally, to praise him.
(excerpted from Titus For You, pages 101-102)
Holy, triune God, we come to you this morning freshly aware of your majesty and greatness. We pause to consider who you are. You are faithful. You are sovereign. You are abounding in steadfast love. You are slow to anger. You are just. You are eternal. You are good. You are merciful. You are gracious. You are kind. We praise you for “the immeasurable greatness of your power toward us who believe according to the working of your great might that you worked in Christ when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also, in the age to come.” Bless the Lord, o my soul, we bless your holy name.
O great God, occupy our hearts; own it all and reign supreme. Help us to know your goodness. Help us to not just understand truths about you, but to enjoy you and find you beautiful and compelling and delicious. Great God Almighty, we ask that you’d help us not just say “No” to sin, but say “Yes” to you and your ways. We cry out with the Psalmist, “Oh you who love the Lord hate sin.”
Father, by the power of your Spirit, show us our sin that we might repent of it; help us to be more aware of our sin than our neighbors’ sin or our spouse’s sin or our children’s sin. We confess that we use our lips to curse and not bless. We confess that we quarrel and get selfishly angry. We confess that we follow sinful passions and pleasures. We confess our envy of others. We confess our hatred. We confess that we often just don’t like other people. Would you show your grace and mercy upon us? Would you grant us repentance?
And we praise you; we praise you that we are not saved by works done by us in righteousness, but according to your own mercy shown to us in the cross of Christ. We praise you that through the Holy Spirit we are washed clean and made pure in your sight. Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for those here this morning that feel the weight of shame because of what they did this past week, or maybe they are haunted by memories from long ago. Would you show them the renewal and refreshing found in Christ? I pray for those who have been abused, who have been taken advantage of, who have been mistreated, show them the healing and mercy and hope found in Jesus. Holy Spirit, minister to those who are hurting and broken and burdened this morning.
Father, we pray that our church would adorn the doctrine of the gospel. By your Holy Spirit, cause Restoration Church to be a place filled with grace and mercy; a place where we take Jesus seriously and ourselves not so seriously; a place where we do not condemningly judge sin, but neither do we tolerate it; a place marked by selfless service, humble compassion, and eager gospel sharing; a place marked by gospel unity among all our diversity. I praise you for the many ways this marks our church and plead with you to pour out your abundant grace all the more.
Lord, we praise you for the wave of church planting happening in our city. We pray for Create Church and Triumph Church and Grace Capital City and Pillar DC and The District Church and Renovation Church and Good Hope Church of God and Waterfront Church and Grace Mosaic and All Nations DC and Anacostia River Church. For the glory of your name, for the fame of Jesus Christ multiply disciples through these churches. Keep them faithful to Christ and cause them to boldly herald the glorious grace of the gospel. Help our church be a blessing to those who labor alongside of us in this city.
We pray for our enemies this morning. We pray that you’d bless those who have wronged us. For friends and family members who we are not reconciled with, would you grant us the opportunity to seek that reconciliation? Give us the humility to seek forgiveness where needed and the gospel-eagerness to offer forgiveness when asked. We pray for those who desire to harm and murder your image bearers. Bring the leaders of ISIS and Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda to faith in Jesus. If your grace and mercy saved us, it can save them. For the glory of your name, richly pour out your saving grace on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Ahmed Direye. Bring Ibrahim al-Asiri and Abu Omar al-Shishani to repentance and faith in Jesus. In your sovereign grace, use these men to not harm people, but to bring about their good. However you choose to work Lord, restrain the evil these groups are able to bring about.
Father, we pray for the spread of the gospel around the globe. Use R & E to bring Behdini Kurds to faith in Jesus. Use the thousands of workers through the International Mission Board to reach the unreached with the gospel. Raise up men and women from this congregation to take the gospel to hard places. Hallow your name Lord God. Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Use the rest of our time here this morning to behold Christ in all his sufficient goodness. Cause the affections of our heart to be warmed by gospel truth. Help us worship you and you alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.