Infinitely glorious Father, we come to you this morning in the name of your eternal Son, Jesus Christ. We come with full confidence of our salvation being secured by the seal and guarantee of the Holy Spirit. Triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit – we worship and adore you this morning. “Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, Highest praises, honor and glory, Be unto Your name, be unto Your name!”
As your blood-bought, heaven-bound church, we praise you for your mercy and grace. We praise you for your sacrificial love shown to us in the cross of Jesus Christ. “This is amazing grace, This is unfailing love, That You would take our place, That You would bear our cross, You would lay down Your life, [That you would take it back up again,] That we would be set free” from the penalty of sin and the grip of death. Oh, how we praise your name.
We marvel at the love you have shown for and to us. And we’re convicted of our inability and lack of desire to love others as you have loved us. We confess our selfishness, treating others as pawns for our comfort rather than sacrificing to serve them. We repent of our selfishness. We confess prioritizing our personal preferences rather than seeking unity and humility in the gospel. We repent of our prideful preferences demanding others meet them. We confess loving convenience and the resulting anger when someone interrupts us. We repent of our harshness and anger. We confess our shallow, self-centered idea of love that prompts us to peruse romantic immorality, physically or virtually. We repent of our immorality. We confess loving our perceived influence and status and being more concerned about how others see us rather than using the gifts you have given us to give glory and praise to your name. We repent of our glory-robbing.
We repent and we rejoice. We rejoice that our sin does not define us. We rejoice that Jesus paid it all; that through him, we are pure and blameless and filled with the fruit of righteousness. We rejoice that you, our triune God who is love, enjoy our fellowship and did all that was necessary to reconcile us back to yourself. We rejoice that through the Holy Spirit, we can love as we have been loved.
Lord God, we praise you for this church body and the many acts of sacrificial love that take place among us. We praise you for the way members love each other in Community Groups seeking to help each other delight in Jesus. We praise you for the way so many among us sacrifice convenience and comfort to serve others. We praise you for the several families pursuing adoption and helping those who are adopting or fostering children. For the glory and praise of your name God, may our love abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment. Help us love those who are not like us. Motivate us with the affections of Christ – help us see others the way Jesus sees them. Give us the grace to love those who are impoverished, who are broken and burdened. Give us the grace to be interrupted and inconvenienced and listen at length so we can build a brother or sister up on Christ or share the gospel with someone who does not know Jesus.
This morning Father, we thank you for our sister E. We praise you for her contagious faith and zealousness for Jesus. Spur her on all the more we ask. We thank you for the C family. Give R and C a deepening love for Christ and each other. Grant them wisdom and patient endurance as they raise C and A in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We thank you for our brother G. We rejoice in the many ways you have grown him during his time at Restoration Church. As he moves to Houston, provide a nurturing church family there that will serve him and that he can serve.
Father, you are so kind to allow us to labor with other gospel preaching and practicing churches in and around DC. For the glory and praise of your name, continue to advance your gospel through The Well in Silver Spring, McLean Montgomery County in Rockville, Del Ray Baptist in Arlington, Sterling Park Baptist, Anacostia River Church, Capitol Hill Baptist, Grace DC and Christ our Shepherd. Magnify your name through these local churches we pray.
Lord, some of us here this morning are hurting and confused; some of us are anxious and worried; some of us are downcast and feel hopeless. We look at the world around us and we’re especially aware of the brokenness, whether that’s in the form of tragic events, systematic oppression, prideful racism, intolerant bigotry, personal illness. Holy Spirit, minister to us this morning. Comfort our souls. Give us peace of mind and rest within our spirit. Use the Word of God to remind us of the hope we have – hope in this world, and hope of a better world. Create within us a deep longing for heaven where all sin and brokenness and misery will be no more. Do this we ask, not only for our good but for your supreme glory. And we are sure of this – you will do it. We look at an empty tomb and resurrection Christ and we rest assured the best is yet to come. Keep us faithful until that day, until the day of Christ, we pray. Amen.
What is the Bible all about? Why should we study it? How should we study it? Listen to these T2 classes as we discuss “Making Sense of the Bible.”
Father of grace and peace, we come to you this morning in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We praise your holy name. We extol your goodness. Great is your steadfast love toward us; your faithfulness endures forever and we rejoice in your sovereign mercy. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name be the glory.
We thank you for the many good gifts in our lives knowing that every good perfect gift comes from you, our Father in heaven. Holy Spirit remind us afresh of the many gifts we take for granted: food on the table, clothes on our back, children in our midst, cars to drive, jobs to work, friendships to enjoy, beds to sleep in, pantries to open, rent to pay, songs to sing, the Bible to read. We confess any grumbling or discontentment in our hearts. We confess any ingratitude and being easily displeased. We confess focusing on what we don’t have, rather than enjoying and thanking you for what you have already provided. Forgive us, O Lord. We humbly repent.
We thank you for the many gospel partnerships Restoration Church has. We praise you for the continual support of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Thank you for their generosity on so many levels. We thank you that we get to labor alongside churches like Redeemer City and Pillar Church and The Well and Redeemer Arlington and Restoration City Church to preach Christ Jesus crucified and resurrected. We praise you that we get to partner with R and E and J and J as they seek to advance the gospel among the unreached. We rejoice that you used Restoration Church to invest over $60,000 dollars for church planting last year. May that number increase all the more this year. We praise you that we get to partner with the Molero family to plant a gospel-rich Spanish-speaking church in Columbia Heights. Do far more that we can ask or imagine this year through A, M, R and B. Continue to use our brother A at Redeemer Leeds to make disciples and encourage the gospel workers there.
We thank you that we get to partner with the 135 covenant members of this church to advance the gospel to our neighbors and the nations. Cause us to enjoy the gospel together. Cause us to enjoy heralding the gospel alongside each other. We praise you for the gospel unity we have. Holy Spirit, make use eager to maintain that unity in all that we do. We praise you for the deep relationships that exist in the life of our church. Make us quick to speak the gospel to one another. Remove any awkwardness we might feel in asking each other spiritually minded questions. Give us the impulse to pray for one another right when we hear about a need or news to celebrate. Grant us the wisdom and grace to speak the truth in love, so that we might grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
We pray for those brothers and sisters among us who feel a bit isolated or disconnected. Give them at least one meaningful conversation this week with another member in their Community Group. Give us the grace to be open and honest, to share our burdens. Give us all listening ears and compassionate hearts. Remind us Lord that it’s okay to not be okay. Give us the grace to not feel the weight of pretending and acting. As we do, remind us of the hope found in the gospel. Let our position in Christ be our identity. For the glory of your name, do not let us find our identify in what we think is wrong with us. Tattoo on our souls the truth of Galatians 2: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Forgive us Lord for finding comfort in lesser identities. Forgive us for feeling like we have to work to earn your affection and approval. We praise that Jesus alone is enough. We rest in his all-satisfying, joy-providing, worship-filled life this morning. We rejoice in his sin-defeating, Satan-crushing death this morning. We delight in his hope-giving, heaven-purchasing resurrection this morning. Flood our souls with hope and happiness as we enjoy pursuing holiness.
Father, your word commands us to pray “for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” And so we come praying for those who have been sovereignly elected and appointed to lead this country. Grant wisdom and a sense of justice to Federal, State and local officials charged with serving the people under their leadership. We pray for president Donald Trump. Bend his heart toward true justice and righteousness for all people. Give him a posture that rightly balances strong conviction and sincere kindness. Surround President Trump with men and women who give wise counsel that promotes the dignity and equality of all people – men and women, all ethnicities, all religious backgrounds, all sexual orientations, all ages – from the womb until natural death.
We thank you Lord that we live in a land with relative peace – let us not take that for granted. Give us the grace to be peacemakers for then we shall see you, our God of peace. When we disagree with others, give us the grace to do it in a way that’s honorable and respectful. Let us, Lord, let us as Christians be a light of hope and happiness. Cause our lives to be so marked by heaven that we do the most good in this world, all while hoping in a better world. We praise you that King Jesus is on the throne right now and forevermore. We praise you that nothing will ever change that; and in that we find our ultimate rest. Give us the grace to enjoy and advance the gospel as we partner with our brothers and sisters inside this church and around the world striving to make disciples that delight in the supremacy of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Nathan, Joey, Kathryn, and Alejandro look back at 2016 to celebrate God’s past grace to Restoration Church. Listen and join us in giving God praise as we trust him for future grace in 2017.
Blessed be your Name! For you are good and your lovingkindness is everlasting! Your faithfulness reaches all generations.
Father, blessed be your Name! For you always speak the truth. You embrace it and rejoice in it. You make everything make sense and hold the world in your hand. In you alone there is no contradiction and no falling short. Our truth, Father, is limited. We get some things right and many things wrong. We contradict ourselves and are hypocrites. But you, Father always act according to the truth and always full of integrity.
Father, blessed be your Name! For you love with perfect love. You know what the other person needs and you spend yourself to provide it. We write songs and poems and make movies about our imperfect, sometimes even fake love for our friends. You wrote your true love for your enemies with your Son’s blood.
Father, how wretched sinners we are.
Father, we have not loved our neighbors, but sought ways to demean them. We have gossiped about the ones next to us. We have envied our neighbors because you gave them what we desire. We ignored the needs of the ones next to us, because we needed to provide for ourselves. When events pointed out our shortcomings we sought to find excuses. Lord, we rationalized ways out of obeying you to make ourselves feel better. We exchanged the truth of the Gospel, your truth, for the lies our sinful hearts tell us.
Lord, forgive us our sins in the name of Jesus. Enable us to see the truth about ourselves, repent of our sins and put our faith in you. Give us the grace to endure our circumstances in obedience of you. Soften our hearts!
We thank you, Father, for the forgiveness we have in Jesus. We thank you Father that you have not left us alone. You provided Jesus as a sacrificial lamb to take our sins away. And you provided us with the Holy Spirit to real to us the truth and to help our prayers. We thank you for the faith that you provided when we first believed and for the faith that you provide everyday. We thank you for the other forms of grace that you bestowed on us. If we have enough to eat, it is from you. If we have enough to drink, it is from you. If we have shelter or health it is from you. If we have an eternal hope and life everlasting, it is from you.
Lord, we pray for faith! We pray for faith that you have a good plan for us personally and for us as a community.
Enable us, your children, Lord, to remember your past goodness and your sacrificial love in Jesus. Help us rejoice in your grace, in the reality of the Gospel and in your good plan. Help us love our neighbors by remembering what you did for us and by thinking about how we would like them to treat us. Help us let go of our hopes and dreams and walk the narrow road of defeating evil with good and hoping in your salvation even as it is hidden from our eyes.
Father, our hearts are broken and we often try to put the pieces back together with duct take. Transform our affections in such a way that we look forward more to the victory of love and good in our hearts, than we look forward to the betterment of our circumstances.
Lord, we pray that we, as your church, would love one another and come alongside each other in our weaknesses. We pray that we would be bold and loving in spreading the Gospel in our community. Help us not be self-absorbed, but always looking for ways to spread the Gospel.
Father, help us love our neighbors, all the more that we live in a time when truth is difficult to find and when many people are angry and/or afraid. Our nation is divided and people fear for their livelihoods.
Lord, help us be a light and peacemakers, helping to foster reconciliation in this country. Give the leaders of this country wisdom, true wisdom, to lead well. Give all the people of this nation awareness of the truth and an ability to make good decisions. Help everybody treat others as they would like to be treated themselves.
In Christ’s name,
O Lord our God, you are our refuge…our fortress…our strong tower. In you, we place our hope. We do not trust in horses and chariots, cars and houses, pay increases or increased responsibilities. We do not put our hope in our relationship status or our degrees. We don’t place our hope in political administrations or a change of scenery. We don’t hope in vacations, alcohol, the amount of friends we have or how we are perceived by our co-workers or family members. We don’t trust the words of the New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers, the Washington Post, or whatever else is popular in our day and time to be our guide. We trust and place our hope in you, Lord, because with you there is forgiveness, love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. With you there is everlasting acceptance as it is given to us through the work of your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit. You…you, Lord, are our hope, our stay, our portion, forever. We exalt you.
Forgive us for the times our gaze moves off of you and onto those same things I just prayed are not our hope. Forgive us for misplaced hopes. Forgive us for trusting things whose foundations are flimsy and fleeting. Forgive us for trusting words that will pass out of style in a matter of days. Forgive us for allowing our affections to be blown around like those that have not been redeemed. Yes, Lord forgive us for the myriad of ways our lives look just like those that have not been changed by the Gospel. Just this past week some of us got angry at our spouses, our co-workers, friends, neighbors; and, we used words and attitudes that conformed to the patterns of the world. Forgive us for the way our anger controls us and causes us not only to be angry at our neighbors, but forgive us most of all for how we have been angry at you because of some circumstance that has come upon us in a way we didn’t welcome.
Forgive those of us that not only lusted after someone that wasn’t our spouse, but forgive those of us who lusted after someone of the same sex as us. Remove same sex desires and replace them with a Holy ambition to enjoy relationships that reflect the relationship that you enjoy inside your Tri-unity.
Forgive those of us that received money this past Christmas and thought only of ourselves, and our wants and desires. Teach us to be generous, seeking to give more than we receive. Teach us to care for the poor and the needy, the orphan and the widow in their times of need. Let us not consume the world, but let us be people that give to the world with our time, our talents, and our treasures because by your grace, we have come to know the greatest treasure of all. Your son was rich; yet, He became poor so that in him we, who are poor, might become rich. Let that be our hearts’ cry every day. Changed by your love in Christ, we move towards the world in love, seeking to do good, even and especially if that means we are inconvenienced because that’s what you did for us! How could we not trust you to do the same for others?
There are a thousand other things we could confess to you this morning. We are a messy people, and that’s why we are so glad to be here today! We come to celebrate the Grace, the Love, the Mercy, the Forgiveness of Jesus Christ! O Lord, we know we could never be good enough to earn anything from you, especially the Holiness that is required to be in your presence. And so, we stand in wonder that while we could not come to you, you came to us; and, your Son gave His life so that we could then come to you!
Thank you for the gift of Repentance. Thank you for the gift of Faith. We did nothing to deserve these things and everything to deny them and yet you, in your infinite kindness, led us to repentance. How marvelous, how wonderful is your love for us! We join the millions that have gathered this week to praise your glorious grace! Thank you for all the ways you are changing us from one degree of glory to another. God you know, this church, myself especially, we need change; and, again, we’re trusting you for that change. We don’t trust our devotional plans, our good deeds or our ability to explain the Bible. We trust you and you alone to save us. We come with open hands and needy hearts confessing our need for you to work in our lives to bring about the fruit of righteousness by your grace and for your glory. Do it in us, Lord, we pray.
We pray not just for ourselves, Lord. We pray for our brothers and sisters that are suffering for the sake of the Gospel around the world. We pray for our sister J as she continues to recover from being attacked for simply praying for others in Jesus’ name. As people ask her about how she lost her eye in that attack, would you cause her to bear witness to the glories of Christ. Bring peace to the many others that have been attacked for their faith there.
Lord, we praise you for the recent release of Cheng Jie. How encouraging it is to hear how she was willing to be imprisoned for two long years, away from her family simply because she wanted to do what we take for granted every week, teaching small children the Gospel. We praise you that she did not deny the faith but instead gave you the glory as she suffered for the sake of Christ. Grant the release of the many more that are imprisoned there in China for doing nothing more than making disciples and gathering together like we are here to the praise of your Glory. Remove wicked leadership there and replace them with peaceful leaders.
Lord, grant that our leaders here in our city would likewise uphold that which is just. May they maintain the religious freedom we have enjoyed for so long and may they take down those that seek to harm our peaceful gatherings.
We thank you Father, for the privilege of prayer. May we seize upon it more often in this new year. Teach us how to pray, and teach us also to enjoy prayer. Thank you for the privilege of doing this together with the saints here this morning at Restoration. Bless the reading of the word, the singing of the word, and the preaching of the word as our brother J feeds us in a moment. May we respond to our brothers preaching with great joy and thanksgiving as we call to mind that you are our Shepherd. May goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, Lord, Amen.
Here is a round-up of some of the ways you can read the Bible in 2017.
Ligonier Reading Plans. Ligonier offers what is probably the best and most thorough round-up of reading plans. They have plans that will take you through the Bible in a year, plans that will take you through the Bible in a few years, and plans that you can do at your own pace. Some of the plans involve only reading the Bible while others offer daily devotionals. There is something for everyone here.
ESV Bible Plans – The ESV site offers 12 different plans that are available in a variety of formats. You can also subscribe to their podcast which will allow you to listen to the Bible; if you do that you will go once through the Old Testament each year, and twice through the New Testament and Psalms.
Bible.com – Bible.com, which offers the Bible app, has a long list of plans to choose from. You will need to use the site or app to access them.
Professor Horner’s System – Professor Horner’s System is intense—10 chapters per day. You’ll read 10 chapters from 10 different books each day, which means you’ll always be reading different combinations. It’s a great system but takes a lot of commitment.
The Change Your Mind Plan – This plan is very simple: “1. Choose a book of the Bible. 2. Read it in its entirety. 3. Repeat step #2 twenty times. 4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.”
Denny Burk’s Plan. Denny Burk’s plan goes through the Bible in a year in canonical order, one book at a time. There are a handfull of “catchup” days thrown in in case you get behind.
Listen as Nathan, Joey and Kathryn discuss book recommendations for 2017.