Restore’s 2 year anniversary & a Hardcore Easter Sermon
Sunday marked the two year anniversary of Restore holding weekly services. Ironically, that did not even occur to me until Clete texted me in the morning. (You can read his text in the pics below.) We launched weekly services Easter 2012 not because church planting pundits recommend launching on Easter or because having Sunday services would somehow make us a real church. We launched weekly services that day simply because initial benchmarks for local traction and missional commitment had been reached, and we had just finished an eight week bible study called The Story the week earlier. So without much fanfare or advertising we simply decided to start holding weekly worship services the next week. Here is what I wrote about our “launch” in our blogpost of April 6, 2012.
Worship services are not the whole church pie, but they sure are a sweet slice of healthy body life. For that reason we are really pumped for the launch of weekly worship services this Resurrection Sunday. Launching weekly worship services was not the next “step” on some planning timeline. It’s the result of what God has been doing in our Discipleship Groups, THE Story study, and our community. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I know Jesus will be lifted up!
With no special anniversary celebration yesterday, other than “hey, we started gathering weekly 2 years ago!”, it was encouraging to gather with over 150 people, with about a 50/50 mix between ethnic minorities & whites. YES, we make a big deal of that. It’s huge because our desire is to plant a church that is truly a Nehemiah kind of partnership between long-term & new-term Detroiters. We long to increasingly reflect, for God’s glory & through the gospel, the diversity of God’s eternal family — Revelation 7:9! While there is a lot more ground to cover, we praise God for what has been done!
What we did celebrate was this, Christ is risen! With a burden to genuinely love people, by not creating false professions of faith or by coddling people who may nonchalantly affirm Jesus is alive but continue to live as if He is dead, I chose a “non-traditional” Easter passage. From Revelation 1:9-20 we saw that Jesus, the real Jesus, is more dangerous than we ever imagined, & more loving than we ever dreamed. Some people need to repent of “their Jesus” & come to the real Jesus. I put it down like this, Jesus will either be your conquering judge or your comforting savior. You can listen HERE.
Please pray for God to save & transform many many people for His everlasting glory & our increasing joy. And following the 48 hour prayer chain, please pray for us as we seek to weave a desperate prayer ethic into the ongoing cadence of Restore life. Finally, congratulations to Nick & Tina on your engagement! Another Restore wedding is coming!