Behold, the Lamb of God!

Posted: June 22, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized
We’ve all heard about the tragedy in Charleston, SC. What may have been more shocking than the actual wrong doing of the perpetrator were the words of forgiveness by the families of the victims. How could the family possibly respond in that way? Only people who have beheld the lamb of God can do what they did. When John the Baptist cried out, ““Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”, he was announcing arrival of the Messiah! Jesus lived the perfect life as the lamb of God, who was slain so that the sins of his people would be transferred on his head, paying for our penalty in full so that we could be forgiven, reconciled to the Father, adopted into his eternal family, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.There is only one sacrifice that will take away our sin, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Where the fire has burnt once, it cannot burn twice – this is the gospel. Judgment that fell on Christ for us once cannot fall on us again. There is a present response that is required. God is not fooled by fake confessions. He can distinguish and discern between those who are trifling with Christ and those who actually trust Him. The judgment passes over only those who have trusted Him, which is evident in how the they follow the True King of their lives. If we are in Christ he will make us look more like him and he surely will do it. Jesus is heaven’s center piece, which means there is judgment for those who reject the Lamb and joy for those who receive Him. This light momentary of affliction is working in us and producing for us an eternal weight of glory, as we look to the things that are unseen. When we don’t give up, we cannot fail. Our responsibility is to get up, and when we do that, it’s because Jesus himself is actually carrying us along to the finish line. Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! You can listen to this message on John 1:29 by Pastor Mike HERE!
Sports Camp Starts TODAY (6/22) and it will go on until Thursday (6/25) 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, and we are still in need of volunteers! Even if you can come for half an hour, please come by to love on and serve the children in our neighborhood!

Polycarp or Punk out?

Posted: June 11, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized

The city of Smyrna was a hot bed of Caesar worship, which then presented a conflict for the Christians. As we saw with the early church leader Polycarp, whose faith lead to martyrdom, suffering was not a matter of if, but a matter of when and how. Polycarp or punk-out? Courageous or cowardeous? Stand fast or sit down? When we take our faith in Christ public in a pagan world, we will suffer. The letter to the church in Smyrna gives us three reasons we can stand stand firm in our faith in times of suffering. Because Jesus knows our suffering we can stand fast. We don’t serve a distant deity. Jesus is near to us and he knows all about our suffering. The church of Smyrna was impoverished because of financial persecution they were experiencing, due to their faith in the Savior and not Caesar. How can Jesus say that this impoverished and afflicted church is rich? Because when Jesus is all we have, we learn that Jesus is all we need. Suffering strips us of everything and all we have left is Jesus, who actually first got a hold of us. We will be slandered for our faith in Jesus Christ, and he knows all about it. It was his rejection and suffering that has allowed our salvation. Because Jesus controls our suffering we can stand fast. Behind all opposition there is demonic opposition, but Jesus harnesses that opposition with a purpose. Suffering is a separator, testing the reality of our faith and whether or not we truly do put our faith in him and in him only. He controls the purpose of our suffering and he limits the extent of our suffering. Lastly, because Jesus has a promise for our suffering we can stand fast. This crown of life is not only for exceptional super Christians, but for all Christians, everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ. There are no prizes for how we start the race, only for how we finish. And we can finish well by looking to the one who ran and finished the race perfectly and won the victory on our behalf! Jesus doesn’t promise us roses, but commands us to be faithful unto death for he will give us the crown of life. We are called to take daily doses of martyrdom through daily doses of self-denial for the sake of His name! Sadly. we’ve all punked-out, been a coward, and sat down rather than stood fast. But just like Jesus restored Peter when he pinked out, he can restore and use us even after we punk out! This should give us massive encouragement. It’s all about Jesus, and the perseverance of the Savior! You can listen to this message on the church of Smyrna from Revelation 2 by Pastor Mike HERE!

This coming Saturday (6/13) we will be cleaning up Gordon Park for our first outdoor gathering at the park of the summer next Sunday (6/21)! Gordon Park is located on the corner of Rosa Parks and Clairmount. We will start cleaning at 10:30am, so come dressed in comfortable clothes with cleaning tools and busy hands! Please stop by to help even if it’s for a short amount of time. Many hands make light work!
The actual day of the service on 6/21, and any other time we gather at the park, we need help with set-up and tear down, so please contact Pastor Tyler at tylerstclair@resdetroit.org if you are available. Also, if you are interested in preparing a side dish or serving food, please contact Heather Fitzgerald at heatherlynea@gmail.com
Lastly, on June 22-25, we are hosting a Sports Camp for the kids in our neighborhood at the PO.  We need volunteers to assist with food, crafts, coaching, and just loving on the kids. You don’t have to be that person who is ‘good with kids.’ It is going to take a team effort of people with different gifts! If your schedule allows and you would like to be involved in some capacity, you can contact Pastor Tyler at tylerstclair@resdetroit.org. 

 

Remember, Repent, and Resume!

Posted: June 3, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized

We’ve all received report cards from school and many of us may have received evaluations from our work places. As we saw in the letter written to the church in Ephesus, the Ephesians are similarly given a report to how they are doing and how they should be doing. This letter to the church of Ephesus from the book of Revelation is comprised of a relevant introduction, a penetrating evaluation, a corresponding exhortation, and a motivating benediction. What good is a tasty salad with steak strips if dry cow manure is sprinkled over it? In a similar way, the church is acknowledged for the good work they were doing, but what was lacking was their love for God, their first love. It’s not enough just to be right and to do right. When our hearts are in the right place, our actions follow through and we are led to doing the right things. We need to remember the times when it was a joy to discover more about who God was and what he wanted from us, how we would do things we never used to do.We are to remember who it is that we actually serve, the God who created this universe and has authority over all things.  We also need to repent, owning our sin of lovelessness and confessing our hearts. We will then see it is actually God who is the one running towards us, the one who always has been pursuing after our hearts.  Lastly, we must resume, continuing with the good that we do for the glory of God. We must not stop when things are not going well. In Jesus Christ, there is much grace and mercy. Where is your heart today? What motivates you to do the things that you do? You can listen to this passage on the letter to the church in Ephesus by Pastor Clete HERE!

A Vision of Jesus

Posted: May 28, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized

“I love Jesus but I don’t like the church!” Really? Can you love Jesus but hate that which he loves, died for, and now calls his bride? It doesn’t add up to hate that which Jesus dearly loves. It’s a fallacy, hypocrisy, utter foolishness and anti-doxological. The church is the primary place on earth where God wants to display his glory and the primary instrument through which God will gather His people. Our vision of Jesus will drive our view of the church. Jesus is present in his church. We must know that the  one and only one always standing in our midst is Jesus, and he is very present in a unique way when his people gather to worship him. Jesus is also powerful over his church. Jesus not only has power over all the earth but also over his church, where we uniquely encounter the power of God. Lastly, Jesus is pastoring his church by his work on the cross, through which he purchases his people, and by his word, through which he speaks to his people. You can listen to this sermon to kick off our sermon series on the 7 churches in Revelation by Pastor Mike HERE!

Are you looking for an intimate group of believers who are seeking to make disciple-making disciples?Looking for a community to serve your neighbors? It’s time for you to get connected with a Dgroup! The summer months are the best time to grow closer with a Dgroup family through serving our community, whether that may be clean ups, cook outs, or by simply praying for each other. The different Dgroups meet throughout the week and if you would like to learn more about Dgroups and how they are an integral part of what we do at Restore, feel free to contact Pastor Clete at cletebontrager@resdetroit.org!

 

The God Who Loves

Posted: May 21, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized

Just like a jeweler uses a dark backdrop to show the different facets of the diamond, God uses the dark backdrop of Jonah’s boiling rage to display the facets of his glorious love. After preaching the sermon of the ages (chapter 3) through which an entire city was saved, Jonah express his anger towards God, that he would extend his mercy to the wicked people of Nineveh. God uses Jonah’s anger to show his love for his people. God uses less than perfect obedience in service. Anger is one letter away from danger. Unchecked anger not only puts oneself in danger but others around as well. Being more happy over God’s gifts than God is idolatry and massive instability. The only savior that is worm-proof is Jesus himself. God calls us to dangerous things but our calendars have already been printed. 

God’s affection for his people is clear, but just like Jonah we find ourselves caring more about “plants” than about people! Jonah mourned outside the city because the city of Nineveh repented, but several hundred years later the true and better Jonah would mourn outside the city of Jerusalem because people would not repent. And he walked into that city knowing that he was going to be tortured, brutally beaten, and ultimately hung on the cross to die, not just so that the people in the city would be forgiven, but so that we would also be forgiven. God’s love is universal and not tribal, it is undeserved and not earned, it is particular and not just general, and it is invasive and not passive. You can listen to this message on Jonah 4 by Pastor Mike HERE!
We are starting a new sermon series on the seven churches of Revelation! Come join us at the PO 11am Sunday morning to hear what God wants us to learn from the early churches!

 

The God of Mercy

Posted: May 13, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized

There are just two religions in the world – Merit & Mercy. In religions of merit you must climb a ladder to get to god. In the religion of mercy (Christianity) God comes down the ladder to us; God is the God of mercy! As we saw in Jonah 3, God shows mercy to those who know better. Jonah did not deserve a second chance. We like think that we deserve a second chance but we don’t, and God doesn’t always give second chances.  Mercy is not getting what you deserve but getting something that you don’t. Jonah displayed willful and intentional disobedience. Yet God gave Jonah a second chance. He extends his mercy by not holding grudges. When we come to him in repentance for our great sin, he comes to us with greater grace, and he does not disqualify us for future service. Also, God is neither a negotiator nor a quitter. He is more interested in his work in you than through you. God is so committed to us that he won’t quit. God also shows mercy to those who hate him. Nineveh was a greatly wicked city, but also one in which he was greatly interested. God hates sin, but he loves people. He could have destroyed the city had he wanted to. Yet, the power of God fell on Jonah’s words and there was massive mercy in massive repentance. True repentance is being in right relationship with God no matter what people say, getting off your throne and letting God get on the throne of your heart, being humble, turning from sin, and appealing to the mercy of God alone. How can God not destroy a rebellious prophet and an evil city and not be a wicked judge? Because Jesus paid for it, coming down the ladder to take the hit that we deserved so that we would be forgiven. You can listen to this message by Pastor Mike on Jonah 3 HERE!

God’s Gracious Grasp

Posted: May 5, 2015 by Nick in Uncategorized
“Then…” This is how Jonah 2 begins. After clearly hearing God’s call, disobeying, caught up in a storm, getting swallowed by a big fish, THEN Jonah prayed. In other words, Jonah’s prayer was born out of affliction, not of affection for God. Often we don’t hit our knees until we hit rock bottom, not praying for repentance until we feel the consequences of our disobedience. We are Jonah, not seeing the need for Jesus until we reach the end of our rope. Yet, despite our disobedience, God hears our cry. He is faithful despite our unfaithfulness. The faithfulness of Jesus to rescue us is not predicated on our goodness, merit, or deserving. It’s sheer grace. As we saw in Jonah’s prayer, he acknowledged that God was sovereign over everything that happened to him. God is the master orchestrator even in our disobedience and wickedness, saving us in spite of our sins. We are never too far from the gracious grasp of the God Almighty. Jonah’s disobedience lead him to the bottom of the sea, hopelessly drowning. Instead of falling in the hands of death, Jonah fell into the sweet embrace of the God who saves. When it all seems impossible, looks like its over, God has a way of coming in with impeccable timing, to swoop up and save. God saves us and he continues to save us, for no one is too far for God to rescue. Idols break the hearts of its worshipers. Who or what do you seek to save you from your loneliness? Troubles at home? Depression? The human heart is a factory of idols. We are all prone to wander, exalting things above God. Who is your savior daily? Is it your job? Approval of men? Family? Church? Just like the fish vomited out Jonah, God spoke to the grave and the grave spat out our Lord Jesus Christ and now salvation belongs to him. Have you surrendered your life? Where do you seek your peace? You can listen to this message on Jonah 2 by Pastor Tyler HERE!
Next Tuesday (May 12) is our next Plant Midwest Detroit Quarterly! As we normally do, we will be meeting at the PO (2701 Joy Rd) 9am – 1pm. Our speaker Terry Virgo is a seasoned sage on prayer and you won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear him speak on prayer and the leader’s prayer life.You can register for FREE at http://www.plantmidwest.com/event/spring-quarterly-2015/.