Acts 29! While I love my church planting network, I’m actually referring to this age in which Jesus continues to build His church. In the concluding message to our series through the book of Acts we see 3 reasons why The Unstoppable Advance Continues. The Gospel is for all peoples! Busting out of the cocoon of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant was messy business for the early church. And busting out of our cocoons is messy for us too if we want to reach all peoples. Messy. But beautiful! The Gospel advances through suffering. The Gospel is not bound by suffering, it bursts forward through it. Oh, that we would understand this! The Gospel is God’s Story. When we repent & put our full trust in Jesus, our story is corrected & completed by God’s story. He takes our trashy, nasty, cheap paperback novel of a life and makes it part of a brilliantly written story that will show out & show off His glory forever. As if that is not enough, God puts you on his writing team in this Acts 29 age! Not that He needs you to get it done – He could make the rocks cry out in praise to Him – but to show His power & shower you with joy! Where are you in The Story? Check out the video below to find out (as well as to learn how not to pronounce cocoon;)
Archive for the ‘acts’ Category
Blood & guts – that’s what we say Dgroups are to Restore Church! And that’s why yesterday’s Dgroup Commissioning Sunday was a huge day in the life of Restore Church. You can watch part of the service below as we highlighted 4 essentials to healthy Dgroups. Never Forget. Go & Tell. Do the Impossible. Fools for Jesus.
Dgroups are groups of fools for Jesus committed to pressing Jesus deeper into one another while spreading Jesus into our neighborhood.
Dgroups meet Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday nights. If you’d like to participate in one contact Clete or me. You can check out pics from the last meeting of one of our Dgroups at the bottom.
Saturday we our having a major work day at The PO as we seek to clear out the entire first floor. Come out & serve with us if you any part of the day open. This week an architectural team begins work on a comprehensive layout proposal!
Yesterday Clete preached a strong message on suffering & the advance of the gospel from Paul’s journey to Rome in Acts 21-28. Real talk from a guy who has been through some stuff himself! Clete ended the message with a quote from Anna Spafford (wife of the guy who wrote It Is Well With My Soul) after she lost her four daughters in a transatlantic crossing. “It’s easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God.” You can check out the message below.
Upcoming events at Restore:
- 11/25 Dgroup Commissioning Sunday!
- 12/1 Work day at the PO
- 12/8 Neighborhood Canvassing for Neighborhood Welcome Sunday
- 12/9 Neighborhood Welcome Sunday!
Three & a half years ago Acts 20:24 rocked my ministerial life. Yesterday I had the joy of preaching on this text & Paul’s goodbye speech to the Ephesian elders. Church leadership, living out the faith, & more is covered in this passage. You can check out the message below.
Early last week, Clete & I had the privilege of spending 3 days in New Orleans with John Gerhardt of Castle Rock Church in New Orleans & other EFCA church planters talking & walking what it means to plant gospel centered churches in inner cities. Incredible time! The wrecking ball for racism is the gospel, not as a one day project, but as a life long commitment. Unfortunately, all but one video interview is inaudible due to the wind. A big shout out to Brett Gleason, church planting director of the Great Lakes district EFCA, for putting this trip together!
For the next two days Clete & I have the privilege of joining 150 pastors from various denominations gathering in Austin, TX to strategize planting gospel centered churches across our great nation. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this discussion!
Behind the plexiglass at the counter of the coney island I frequent is a lot I can’t see. Likewise, behind the stuff that you see with your physical eyes in everyday life is a spiritual realm in which a battle is raging. Some people ignore it & others are obsessed with it. Urban missionaries will face this spiritual opposition as they attack demonic strongholds. The way to fight is with the very thing that translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love, the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 John 3:8 tells us Jesus destroys the works of the Devil, or to put it plainly, Jesus kick satan’s butt. In Acts 19 we see this displayed, experienced, & opposed.
Please be in prayer for our upcoming Dgroup commissioning service (11/25), our next facility workday (12/1), neighborhood canvassing (12/8), & a neighborhood welcome service (12/9).
Though it may be a fool’s errand we are going to leverage the extra hour of sleep from the time change to actually start on time this coming Sunday. Doors open at 10am & my coffee man has vouched on his Pingree life that manna will be ready at 10:30. Come early to enjoy fellowship and at 11am sharp we are starting – for real! Sunday is Adoption Sunday, and as part of our service we will be hearing from a couple who chose to grow their family through adoption, before diving into Acts 19 to see the power of the gospel in destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
We have two events scheduled for Friday night, both at 7:30.
- MMA (Monthly Manhood Academy) at The PO (2701 Joy Road, 48206). We are going to discuss how a God-centered man relates to women.
- Triple FC (Females Fighting for Christ). After kickboxing;) the ladies are going to spend time together praying. (Contact Clete or Mike for location)
Tuesday night’s pizza & work party accomplished a lot at our new building. We updated the color of the upper room from a yellowish hue to a donkey brown (which is pretty fitting for some of us guys). We even have a wall that is now a “chalkboard” for announcements, prayer requests, & memory verses – pretty cool! Many thanks to all those who participated! More opportunities to serve to come in the near future.
With all our talk about having a church facility that does not look “effeminized”, the paint in the upper room at The PO looks like something from a women’s restroom (yellowish, & not even the Michigan kind). Kind of funny! #firstworldproblems No worries, at Tuesday night’s work party we’ll get a tanner second coat on the walls. Come on out at 6:30PM if you’d like to eat some cheap pizza, drink lots of Faygo, & get your hair frosted with paint. A big shout out to Bethesda Baptist of Allen Park for working like beasts on Saturday! Sunday evening we were also able to get a lot done in the Bontrager kitchen in preparation for a team coming back from Brookside Church in Bowling Green to hang cabinets & lay tile this Saturday. Thanks also to Riverview Church for hosting last Friday a great mini-conference for church planters on the mission & marks of a healthy church.
Oh yeah, it was great to meet Sunday in person a friend of the church we helped pray through a successful lung transplant – you are a trophy of God’s grace & power Heather! Finally, thanks to Leah for inviting us to a very informative session at Alternatives for Girls on the blight of sex trafficking. Much to process & act on from that evening. Please continue to pray for connections & conversions in our community, the design layout of The PO, the upcoming launch of a third Dgroup, and an early December Christmas open house for our neighborhood.
Sunday we continued our look from the book of Acts at what it means to be an urban missionary. In the face of fear & difficulties we can keep moving forward because of the 3 hope drenched truths of Acts 18:10!
How do I reach people around me? That’s the cry somewhere in the heart of every person who has been rescued by Christ! Paul’s interaction in Athens in Acts 17 is not a recipe but it does gives us 4 basic principles on how to live out our missionary identity, whether you live in the city, suburbs, or a rural area. Check out the video below to learn what an urban missionary sees, feels, does, & says.
This Saturday (October 27) at 9AM you have an opportunity to help us with some interim projects at The Post Office while we formulate a long term layout design. Specifically, we will paint “the upper room” (our short term worship space) & stairway, paint & spruce up 2 downstairs bathrooms, and knock down another wall (argh!) to prepare for renovation. A team from Bethesda Baptist will be helping the Restore crew with this work day. There’s definitely room for more to serve with the work team so let us know if you like to join us Saturday – we’d love your help! You can contact Clete for details (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-431-9854).
Theological liberals distort the gospel by subtraction and theological legalists distort the gospel by addition. The early church was threatened by the former and, as a result, took decisive action in what is known as the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. In addition to learning the true essence of grace from this historic event we are also reminded that grace both frees us to strategically surrender our freedoms and turns us away from that which it saves us from, sin. You can check out the message below. (We’ll improve our camera angle next time;) We had the joy of celebrating this grace through our first baptisms at The Post Office. It was beautiful to hear three heart-thumping stories of grace! I’ve got the first testimony/baptism posted and will try to get the other two up later.
13 of us also had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Thriving in the City Conference in Philadelphia at Epiphany Fellowship last Friday & Saturday. Wow! Blogpost to come by one of our Restore peeps.
Friday night the Bo-Ed Dgroup will host a cider & donut bonfire for our neighborhood. All are invited. 7PM 1258 Longfellow 48202.
Step into mission & the difficulties will come – relational problems, plans that don’t go quite right, closed hearts, demonic opposition, & persecution. The early church experienced these challenges as well, as we saw Sunday at Gordon Park in Acts 15 & 16. Thankfully they experienced what is true to this day, the gospel is unstoppable! The gospel is, as our worship leader said, self-propelling! This encourages us to be faithful in tough slogging!
I’ll be attending a church-planting roundtable in Minneapolis for 2 days for a group of pastors & planters in the EFCA. Please pray there will be a passion lit for planting in urban areas like Detroit! The gospel, after all, is unstoppable!