The Benedictus 

Posted: December 17, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized
What would you do after getting your tongue was locked up for 10 months and your son was just born? Zechariah the priest was made silent due to his unbelief in God’s word until his son John the Baptist was born. We read Luke 1:67:80 also known as The Benedictus (“Song of Zechariah”), and we saw how the first thing Zechariah did as he opened his mouth was to give God all the glory and praise. Scripture also states that he was filled with the Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? How was Zechariah different? He was filled not with himself but with the Spirit. For us to be Spirit-filled we need to look into our own hearts and reflect upon two things. First, we must view ourselves correctly, for who we are. Do we see ourselves correctly for who we are? God placed things under our feet, to have dominion. But what do we do? We want to have the glory for what we have. As children who received the nice bedroom full of clothes and toys, we forget that we have a Father who provided the room and everything in it for us and we are supposed to take care of it, not think that it is ours to abuse and use for our own good. Second, we must see God correctly, for who he is. He is the amazing creator who gave us everything we have. Do we see him as the God who is sitting on the throne this very moment, worthy of our praise and glory at all times?  The beautiful thing is if one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior he/she has the very God living within him/her, and this should give us joy and the power to live out the mission he has prepared for us. Unfortunately, there are things in our lives that quench the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives he takes away our sins and even the good things that aren’t God things. God wants these things out of our lives so that we can be filled with the Spirit. Maybe some of them are good things that are not God things? Thought patterns? Old habits? As we saw this past Sunday, yes, the removing of our sins as the Holy Spirit works in us can get messy. Yet, it is a beautiful mess that gives God the glory and we receive the joy. Are you taking inventory of your lifeYou can hear Pastor Clete’s message on Luke 1:67-80 HERE!
What a blessing the Dinner and Dialogue on Race and Injustice was this past Friday! The discussion opened up room for more discussion, and we believe we made tiny yet positive steps towards better understanding one another and being able to mourn with those who are mourning. Many people left Friday night hungering for more (food and dialogue!), and we assure you that there will be more discussions and dinners over race and injustice! A special shout out to those who made the fabulous dinner happen, and for those who helped out with set up so that we could create this safe, God-honoring space for conversation!

 

The Magnificat

Posted: December 10, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

We just ended a series in the dark book of Judges where we were left longing for a true savior. As we began our Christmas series, Christmas Victory Songs, we saw how after 400 years of silence, out of the prophetic blue, this peasant virgin named Mary is told that she is going to have a son whom she is to name Jesus. Mary initially had doubts. But we see how she moved from a place of doubt to simple faith. Doubt is where true relationship with God starts. It is a doorway, not the enemy, to faith. Through this passage of Luke 1:46-55 which is also known as the The Magnificat (‘Song of Mary’), we saw how Mary’s response to Jesus inside of her reflects when someone comes to faith and salvation in Christ. The signs of an authentic encounter with Jesus are: (1) a clear focus on God as the one who saves; (2) a heart that worships God; (3) an assurance that the eternal God cares for me personally; (4) a boasting in undeserved grace; (5) a sense that something epic, life changing has happened; (6) a conviction that God is doing something far bigger than just saving me; and (7) a trust in God’s word. On the basis of the promises in John 3:16, your relationship with God who never lies and always keeps his word can begin. Do you need to trust Jesus? You can listen to the message on passage from Luke by Pastor Mike HERE!

What a privilege it was to witness the baptism of the 7 brothers and sisters who got baptized! Thank you to those who served in the front and behind the scenes. Let us continue to pray for our newly baptized brothers and sisters, that they may continue to profess their faith in our Lord and Savior and that they may go out into the world to show and tell Jesus!
This upcoming Friday (12/12) we will gather at the PO at 6:30pm for a dinner and dialogue on race and injustice. In light of some of the recent incidents which has caused a lot of unrest in our nation, this is a great opportunity to discuss and hear different perspectives from our community regarding race and injustice. It will be a safe place where people can share their thoughts and feelings, in addition to seeking ways in which we can practically narrow the gaps of racial tension. Healing and reconciliation is a Gospel thing. Let us pray for this gathering, that it may be a place where people leave broken, encouraged, and challenged, as we share Christ-like love with one another. Please invite your neighbors/friends/family/coworkers/etc to this important event!

 

 

Total Depravity and Unstoppable Grace

Posted: December 3, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

You turn on the TV and the opening news is about a woman gang raped all night, dead body left on the front porch, husband, who also happens to be her pimp, cuts her body in 12 pieces, and then sends them throughout the city of Detroit. Wouldn’t your eyes be glued onto the TV, curious to see how everything unravels? To the disbelief of many, this is precisely what we read in the closing message of our sermon series on the book of Judges, Darkness vs. Light. Judges 19 to 21 are some of the most horrific chapters in all of the Bible, and what we really see is total depravity, everything about us, our thinking, our feeling and doing are infected and influenced by sin.

The horrifying account in chapter 19 mirrors the narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah from the book of Genesis. We see depravity cloaked in “religious rayon”, hiding the truth that we are in fact infected by sin. In the case of the Levite, racial fear is coupled with unhealthy ethnic pride. You can have much exposure to the truth and be just as wicked as those without the truth. Do you ever fear people because the way they look and the where live? When you see brokenness around you, do you see the brokenness within you? Chapter 20 depicts when my tribe trumps truth – misplayed loyalty. We saw how the Levite carefully edited the account of what happened, and the Benjaminites, who clearly knew what had happened and what the charges were, did not hand over the perpetrators. When we put loyalty to any group above God, whether that may be our family, ethnicity, political party, or country, we are in idolatry. In the end of chapter 20 to chapter 21 we see when justice becomes genocide. An unrighteousness response to injustice is only more injustice. A cry for justice went array and added more injustice to this injustice. And then a summary indictment that closes book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This is total depravity. 
Where is the unstoppable grace? After wave, after wave of rebellion, Israel still exists. With all of our rebellion, we still exist. The book of Judges leaves us longing for Christmas. The Israelites in the book of Judges are so deep in their sin that they don’t even ask for a judge but God in his mercy still sends one, time after time. And then after many years of silence, God sends a True Judge, the Savior. Even in this dark book, we can see the light of Jesus shine through in different places. An unrighteousness husband who sacrifices his concubine to save himself. But there is a righteous husband who sacrifices himself to make us his bride. This concubine was torn into pieces and then sent out to the twelve tribes, but Jesus was torn not just for the twelve tribes of Israel, but for all who would put their faith in him. As perpetrators of sin, we can ask for forgiveness, and as victims of sin, rather than seeking revenge, we can work for true justice. This is the light that shines through the book of Judges. Where are you cloaking your depravity in religious rayon? Where are you lending a blind eye to injustice? Where is your loyalty to your tribe (family, political party, ethnicity, etc) trumping your loyalty to God? Where is your reaction to injustice reflecting another kind of injustice, instead of true justice? You can hear the closing message in our sermon series on the book of Judges by Pastor Mike HERE!
Starting next week we start our Christmas sermon series, Christmas Victory Songs! Come join us in worship 11am at the PO as we celebrate the coming of the True and Living Savior!
Lastly, it’s that time of the month! As it is the first week of the month we as a body will fast and pray throughout the day this Friday(12/5), then gather at the PO 6 – 7pm for a power hour of prayer! Let us continue to press into how God is leading us to become a body that truly believes in the power of prayer!

Worshiping the Creator vs. the created?

Posted: November 25, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

There’s a huge difference between the real and the fake. The genuine and the knock offs. Just like how there are real gold rings that keep their colors for years, and then the fake rings that leave green stains on your fingers, we either worship the God who created us or a god created by us. Judge 16 is a transition period where there are no more judges of Israel, and chapters 17 and 18 now focus on the spiritual decay. Micah, whose actions represent the state of the nation of Israel, stole and lied about stealing from his mother and there is no true remorse. We see a man with no integrity or principles, but more so, a man doing things his own way, living life according to his own rules and worshiping his own way. Things only get worse. He not only makes an idol but he also builds a shrine and makes his son a priest. In other words, he customized worship to his own liking. In the same way we want to customize Jesus. We think that we can shape God into our own image when He is the one who created us in His image. Jesus is not a sub sandwich you can make to your own liking. There is a clear difference between worshiping the living God who created you and a god you created. Who do you say that Jesus is? Who is he to you? Do you follow the Son of the Living God. Or the Jesus you created?

So how should we respond? What we see with Micah and his family was dead worship. It’s not just about what you do two hours a week Sunday morning. Worship is not something that you do but a life you live for him and that is what Jesus calls us to do. What does true worship look like? Are there areas in your life that you have not presented to him? Jesus demands it. How we live daily points to who we worship. Whatever you give preeminence above our Lord Jesus Christ will leave you empty. You can make a good thing a god thing and these idols will always break the hearts of the worshiper. True joy and satisfaction can only be found in Jesus Christ, living for the King who died for us. You can hear this message on Judges 17 by Pastor Tyler St. Clair HERE!
Baptism Sunday (12/7) is coming up very soon! If you would like to learn more about what baptism is and the significance to it, contact Pastor Mike at mikehanafee at mikehanafee@resdetroit.orgLet us pray for those who will be getting baptized, and that the Lord will bring more people to himself!

When a man LUSTS a woman

Posted: November 19, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

When a man lusts a woman? Sexual desires are holy and healthy when they are expressed in God’s plan and boundaries. As we continued with the narrative of Samson from the book of Judges, we saw how the judge Samson was really bounded by his desire for Delilah. We also saw how Judges 16 was not just about sexual lust but about craving after anything else besides God. There are four things that happen when we crave something more than God: (1) You misuse your giftings to pursue your cravings; (2) You think you control your cravings but they control you; (3) You become blind to your spiritual condition; and (4) You are destroyed. The once indestructible Samson was eventually weakened and he was ultimately destroyed. However, thankfully, sin does not have the last say. Not in Samson’s life nor in the life of Israel. The only true and living God is the one who gives the Philistines their victory, and as he gives over Samson to the Philistines to judge him, God is actually judging the Philistines, bringing sweet victory to the nation of Israel. Actually, it is a violent victory. But there was a much more violent victory. Out of the ruble of Judges 16 emerges the rock of Jesus Christ. Like Samson Jesus was betrayed by a loved one, Samson by Delilah, Jesus by Judas. He was mocked, ridiculed, and abandoned. However, unlike Samson who was abandoned for his sin, Jesus was abandoned for our sin, so we would not have to be everlastingly abandoned for our sin. For us, he put one hand on the pillar of God’s holiness, and the other on the pillar of our sinfulness, and he was crushed by an avalanche of the sins of his elect people. While Samson’s victory was partial and temporary, Jesus’ victory is eternal, and by faith, we put our hope in him. You can hear this message on Judges 16 by Pastor Mike HERE! Also, if you missed last week’s message by Charles Bovan on the importance of walking in community you can listen to that HERE!

 

Restore’s first “Rooted” Session

Posted: November 19, 2014 by David in Uncategorized

On November 8th we gathered for our first session discussing Wayne Grudem’s “Bible Doctrine”. This wasn’t meant to be a re-hash of the introduction or chapter one, but a time intended to stir up questions and comments; to delve further into the overarching theme of “What is systematic theology?” As Mike mentioned, systematic theology was one of his favorite subjects in seminary, because it helped him actually understand the Word of God; so let’s hope it does the same for us! In addition to our discussion of the text, Mike delivered a small lecture consisting of seven points that shed light on the need for systematic theology. If you weren’t there for the session, here’s a re-cap of his points:

  1. Everyone has a theology, and everyone is a theologian. Unless we are focusing on the Jesus of the bible, we will make Jesus look like us. That is to say, if we don’t focus on what God said about Himself in His word, we will end up manufacturing a God that looks nothing like the God of the Bible. In the end, we all end up having a “theology”. What kind of theologian will we be?
  2. Studying theology is one of the greatest privileges you will ever have. Did you know that theology was referred to as the “Queen of the Sciences” within Ivy League academics? Knowing about God isn’t the same as knowing God. However, what do you do when you want to know someone better? You try to learn as much as you can about them! When you start to know them, you’ll want to know them more and more deeply.
  3. Bad theology exists because people don’t do systematic theology. As Mike has said in the past “A text without context is a pretext to make it whatever we want”. By ignoring context, or considering what else the Bible says on a given topic, we run the risk of coming to heretical conclusions. In fact, there are no “new” interpretations of the Bible, just ancient heresies re-packaged for modern times.
  4. Be careful: don’t be fat in the head and skinny in the heart. It’s said that the Lutheran theologian Rudolf Bultmann memorized the entire New Testament (in Greek, to boot) and believed none of it. It’s possible to know a lot about God and not worship Him. We don’t want to get to a point where our heads are swollen with knowledge and our hearts are barren due to a reliance on our intellect. While many can swing between two camps: being doctrinal, or being experiential. We want to be both. Those who fall into the “experiential only” camp want to talk only about “experience”. That is to say, they only want to discuss their “experience” of God, which tends to be subjective. This ends up leading to a “mystical” interpretation of God – ignoring the fact that He has clearly revealed much about Himself in scripture. This leads to the other extreme (doctrine only), those who say “Give me a bible and a highlighter”. Ultimately, we want elements of both. We want our heads and hearts to aid us in being hands-on/missional. The end result is something thoroughly scriptural, deeply experiential, while being passionately missional.
  5. The study of doctrine must lead to delight or else it’s dangerous. You want to be growing in godliness and mission, not just “growing in knowing”. When was the last time you cried over scripture, an attribute of God, forgiveness of sin, or the brokenness of the world around you? See the fourth point.
  6. Don’t let systematic theology trump the plain, everyday, beautiful reading of the Bible. Plainly put, this isn’t your Bible. While the study of systematic theology can help us in understanding our Bible, it won’t read and experience the Bible for us.
  7. You must put shoes on the truth. You’ve learned a lot. So, how are you going to apply and walk it out?

 
R1

R2

What does Grace do?

Posted: November 4, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

What is grace? Is it anything more than an overused Christian word that carries no weight? NO! Grace is undeserving favor to undeserving sinners that brings us into relationship with God, most fully revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we continue with our series Darkness vs. Light, we saw how, more than being about Samson’s birth, Judges 13 paints a picture of what happens when grace lands on someone, what grace does.  So what does grace do? Grace comes unexpectedly. Again we see the ongoing pattern of rebellion against and the retribution, but what we don’t see is repentance. Yet God in his sovereign grace, sends a judge to deliver them. In other words, even though they have not cried out in repentance, God sends them a rescuer. The posture of God towards those who he plans to save is to run after them and to bring them home. The God of all grace does the impossible. In overflowing grace, not only does God bring blessings to the barrenness to your lives, but his saving grace turns spiritual cadavers into true worshipers. Also, in his grace, God changes our direction. As both of Samson’s parents embraced the new direction to which God had lead them, when grace breaks into our lives, it changes our direction in the form of holiness, service, and missions. Lastly, when grace lands, it creates a worshiper. T’was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. When we start to fear the Lord is when we start to get to know him, which leads us to worship.

As God promised, Samson was born. As we will see in the next couple of weeks, God saves in very unconventional manner and this points us to someone whose birth we celebrate every year. Just like Samson, Jesus was consecrated after his birth and saved his people. But unlike Samson who sinned early and often, whose victory was incomplete, partial at best, Jesus was sinless and his victory was complete, saving all his people from their sin. Has he saved you from your sins? You can hear this message on Judges 13 by Pastor Mike HERE!
It is that time around the month! It is the first Friday (11/7) of the month, which means we as a body will pray and fast throughout the day, depending on the Lord and seeking His will. Prayer topics will be posted on social media throughout the day so be on the lookout. Later that evening at 6-7pm, we will gather at the PO for a power hour of prayer. Let us continue to cry out to God who is not only our deliver, but also our sustainer!