living on mission
sharing life together
growing in truth
Well, church family, I know it's been a while since you've all heard from the Monday night Restore family and our "happenings", and although maybe out of sight in the World Wide Web, we have definitely not been out of mind in our meeting together. In fact, the reason I'm writing on our behalf again is because my appreciation of our Monday gatherings, and the family that is truly being built and strengthened as a result, has been at the forefront of my mind a lot lately. As Logan preached last Sunday, and God brought about His words for us at His sovereignly appointed time, we are family. United by Christ and set apart (despite being Gentiles) for His purpose in this world, yes, but also for His purpose in building up the Church even. I'm not sure I ever recognized how important this unity is, but as we learn more together and grow in our understanding of just who Jesus really is, the more dots get connected in this mystery. Praise the Lord He has chosen to reveal it to us, little by little, knowing how feeble and forgetful we are. Perhaps, you are like me and have always focused more on the mission of The Great Commission in "going and making disciples" (and we should not ignore this by any means), but have failed to see the significance in building up the body, specifically relationships within the body: unity between brothers and sisters. Thank you Jesus that our eternity is secured, but... if you are reading this, and you are a true believer, our eternity is secured TOGETHER, whether we like, dislike, or truly love one another. Kinda like a marriage that God says never to separate... There will be no "divorce" of even our spiritual family in eternity which brings more meaning to growing in love and in our relationships now between each other. We are going to live together forever. I personally love that. And besides, it pleases and glorifies our Father! What other goal do we really have?
Not coincidentally, at the same time that I have been feeling immense appreciation for our Restore (and church) family in general and Logan preaching on unity, I came to a chapter in a book I'm reading called, "Love Your Brothers and Sisters". Listen to this excerpt from Edward Welch in that chapter:
It's interesting to note that the most explicit biblical teaching on spiritual warfare is found in the book (Ephesians 6) that emphasizes unity. Satan's most prominent strategy is to fracture and divide.
I can confidently say that I love each of our Restore family members, child or adult, as a true family member "in the most intimate sense of the word", as God designed it to be. Dare I say even more intimate than my unbelieving biological family members. This has only happened as a result of Christ's work in me, and in all of us, and in His faithful allowing and causing us to continue meeting together as He actually commands (Hebrews 10.25).
If you are not a part of a Restore family yet, in love I appeal to you to become part of one soon. By God's design, we desire community and a relationship with you and your children, brothers and sisters, and we want and need to grow together with you in faith and grace. You have been given gifts that will help build us up as well. One last excerpt from that same chapter which speaks so accurately of our Restore family gatherings:
Amen to that! I love you family.
Early summer 2016, I invited a Mormon to Restore. To my amazement she showed up even after the rough time I gave her by challenging her faith. She came for several weeks. Monday Restore loved her, challenged her, prayed for her, taught her, and sang with her during the summer of 2016. Then she disappeared.
On a monday morning in March of this year, she reappeared. Life had treated her rough. Things were broken. She came to ask only for prayer. She wanted to pray at the table where she knew she felt Jesus. We prayed for her. When you think of it, please pray for Shelby. The Lord is working on her.
Come visit a Restore family and grow in Him with us.
Yes! Joy to the world, and this be the Joy of our hearts and souls!
With Christmas close at hand, the Advent season upon us, and right on the heels of our closing of yet another 9 Marks study, Conversion, the significance of His coming carries a new weight for some in our Monday night Restore family. One that is worthy of reverent meditation in awe of just how blessed we are to receive the Son of God and the gift of His Holy Spirit who gives us peace with the Father: friendship--or better yet, sonship--versus enmity; a reconciliation rooted in sorrow replaces our pride; God's mercy in place of His all-consuming wrath; His grace in place of deserved neglect; indescribable joy versus sadness; a well of hope rather than despair.
The reason we can celebrate this gift of conversion is the same reason we celebrate Christmas.
We have learned that true conversion manifests itself through the fruit of our lives, and we also know that two main components of the Fruit of the Spirit are love and faithfulness: the foundation of the Christian life. It is because He first loved us that we are able to love; it is because of His faithfulness that we are able to be faithful; through His goodness and lovingkindness that we have been chosen. Adopted... Redeemed... Converted... Saved.
Dear Church family, may we be so full of care, thanksgiving, and praise as we consider such Truth this Christmas. What a gift Christ is to us! And what a gift it is also to have God's Word, the Truth, to study together in freedom (physically and spiritually) in our Restore families.
What a privilege to know the Savior, Immanuel, Messiah, Yahweh--the One we have been saved to.
Rejoice! He hasn't only ransomed Israel!
The Lord has written such a beautiful and encouraging word in Hebrews 11 by citing the ancient heroes of faithfulness, the "great cloud of witnesses" surrounding believers, whose examples give testimony of faith, God's converting work, His transforming power, and the grace of Jesus Christ which keeps us all.
Therefore, since we have been given the gift of the Christ child, the Great High Priest,
We recently put our youngest as well as our old(er) Restore brothers and sisters to work filling envelopes in an efort to aid The Good Samaritan Clinic during their annual fundraiser. Everyone worked diligently, enjoyed the warm fellowship, and cookies, hot chocolate, and prayer afterwards.
We look forward to Taryn Hastings return home from College Station for the Christmas break, and are gearing up for our annual Christmas Eve Service with the First Responders. We plan to provide gifts, dinner, desserts, worship in song, a short message, and prayer. It is our petition that this ministry is as much a blessing to those receiving as it is to those giving. We cherish these times of service together!
Please keep Theresa Jones and her upcoming mission trip to Thailand in your prayers. We are grateful for your financial & prayerful support as she prepares to become a laborer in our Father's harvest field.
Thank you for your unity in mind and spirit through Christ. Merry Christmas!
In light of all the recent rains and the Scripture we've enjoyed in Restore, I'll begin with Isaiah 55.10-11:
As we meditate on Scriptures that encourage our understanding of The Gospel and our response to it, we are reminded how tremendously we have been showered with God's grace through Jesus, our Savior, and just how far off our foolish "wisdom" falls compared to the wisdom of God.
In our living on mission, whether this be in our home or in some form of "ministry", our Restore family members feel the cruciality of this scripture's cyclical truth. How greatly we need power yielding bread, God's word, to feed and grow us and reciprocally, have His word be the providential seed for our sowing of The Good News; which points right back to the Bread of Life. As believers enduring sanctification, we can agree it's very discouraging to know and experience powerlessness in our own efforts to "lead people to Christ" but overwhelmingly humbling and awesome to witness the authority and power of Christ in His effortless works through us when we surrender the reigns and let Him speak!
God's word is seed (Luke 8.11), and His word never fails.
Many of us in our Restore family wait expectantly for Him to speak... to a hard hearted father, an unbelieving sister, a prodigal son, apathetic teenage children, a Mormon visitor to our Monday nights, men in prison, and abortion-minded women. We falsely believe He is slow in His answers, but He is in fact patient, steadfast, and wishing that none would perish. (2 Peter 3.9) We now rejoice over that patience and His lovingkindness that led us to repentance thus sowing seed and continuing in fervent prayer for the lost.
The Lord is our God Most High. He will accomplish His purpose through the power of His Word and the glory of His Son.
It is with great rejoicing, anticipation, and prayer as we see Taryn Hastings off to College Station to begin her collegiate career at Texas A&M! It comes as no surprise as she is a 4th generation Aggie but with much joy to see this young woman live out and grow in her faith. We pray God, in His faithfulness, will continue to set Taryn apart, use her belief to touch the lives of many, and carry out the kingdom purpose. Hannah Hastings successfully completed her driver's training and earned her license! We pray for God's protective shield, obedience to the law, and use of good judgment over Hannnah when driving (as well as for the rest of our teenage drivers).
Please pray for our Monday night family, South Church, as we seek to witness through word and deeds to our new members who struggle to denounce their Mormon beliefs and take hold of the truth about the only Way, Truth, and Life.
It is our sincere heart to pray for you, our brothers and sisters, as well.
The Monday night Restore family agrees we have become all too familiar with these verses having read them or heard them for a long time now as most of us have grown up "church kids", as stated by Pastor Paige in a recent sermon.
Dangerously so we tend to skim over this command and so miss the promises and assurance attached to it by Jesus himself. Similarly, we conferred, having recently begun our new 9Marks study, God's Good News: The Gospel, we are also all too familiar with skimming over the seriousness and disgrace of sin, running too quickly to God's grace, love, joy and peace in our efforts to share the Gospel. As brothers and sisters united by Christ and a sincere love & reverence for Him, we can completely agree with J.I. Packer's statement of, "A half truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth."
As we each step out in faith & loving submission to share the Gospel, we learn that the task can be difficult & humbling, yet still the greatest privilege, purpose, and joy of our lives. What a relief to understand and be assured that Jesus' victory does not depend on us, but that our "success" comes from obedience to His command. Praise God for the gift of His Holy Spirit!
We also continue to praise God for the family of believers He is knitting together at South Church. Both Monday Restore families gathered recently for a potluck meal as the Dobson's graciously opened their home for food & fellowship. This was a great time of connecting for adults and children alike. Praise God for friendships that honor the Lord.
Several of our children--and even a few adults--made cards for Marin Melton in an attempt to encourage and lift her spirits following the recent shark attack which left her with multiple surgeries and a long road of recovery. Praise God for His protection of her very life. Please remain in prayer for her & her family.
And lastly, please be in prayer for God to present a "sober" opportunity for Chelsea Thompson to share the Truth of the Gospel with her brother who believes a false doctrine, as well as for more occasions to disciple one of the teen moms from YoungLives.
And remember family, as you seek to glorify Jesus...
Over the last several weeks of continuining our study on Biblical Theology, the Monday night Restore family has gained a new appreciation for sound doctrine as a necessary component of our faith, and an understanding of what would happen to our lives if we were to forsake biblical doctrine. What shallow, "rocky path" Christians we would be without it. Or would we be at all? As we learn why and just how essential sound doctrine is in our growth and maturity in Christ, we are also thankful for the Lord's patience and grace as we wrestle with teaching this doctrine to others and actively evangelizing as witnesses for Christ. Although He is ever faithful in bringing us from one degree of glory to another through santification and a pursuit of holiness, we realize just how inadequate we really are to carry out the Great Commission in our own flesh alone.
How humbling & sobering it is to know that we are chosen, set apart, and appointed by the Almighty God to be among those in whom He brings sight and reveals His mysteries. What a privilege we have with such a purpose and calling in what once we each knew as a meaningless life. Praise God that...
On a celebratory note, the Hastings received report from doctors that Caden's heart murmur is stable at this point. His condition is not any better necessarily but also not any worse. Please hold fast to prayer with us as we remain confident in the Lord's will for Caden as well as for Charlie and Toni.
Fellow believers & friends of the Hastings, Rob & Angie Beggs, lost their 10 day old son last week. Please be in prayer for this family as they suffer tremendous loss and grief. We ask that the Lord bring the healing and comfort that only He provides, that the body of Christ surrounds this family in love, and that they themselves will continue to glorify Jesus despite tribulation and reasoning beyond understanding.
Please pray for safe travel for Kerry Jones as he pulls a uhaul to Jackson, Florida in his return to college, and also for the travel of Lynn Harris' son & grandson, Darryl, as they move to Salt Lake City. Darryl has been in regular attendance in both Restore & Proclaim. We will miss him and are praying that the Lord would comfort Lynn as she will miss them both. May His sovereign will be done in the difficult visitation arrangements, as well as in Lynn's son's Mormon faith. Father, please give Lynn the courage and ability to use her knowledge of sound doctrine to help lead her son to Truth.
And lastly, please be in prayer for Chelsea Thompson. She has agreed to be a camp leader/mentor for the YoungLives camp June 5-10th. YoungLives is a part of YoungLife, but is an outreach and ministry for teen moms & pregnant teens. They are estimating 150 teen moms to attend along with their babies...and the leaders will be bunking with them. I'm gonna claim Paul's statement here: "If we are out of our mind, as some say, it is for God" (2 Co 5:13) Please ask God to prepare Chelsea, and for the Holy Spirit to lead her as she seeks to share the gospel with these girls, love them and their babies, and disciple them back home.
God is so loving and kind in His ways of using what once hindered love as just part of the story.
As Paul commended Philemon, church family, because your love gives us great joy and encouragement, we each say to you...
Aren't you thankful that a true love story never ends? The Monday night Restore family is grateful to be reminded in our study on Biblical Theology that the only True, Everlasting love story there is, is the Word of God itself.
How kind of the Lord to give such an unworthy people so many opportunities to receive His very clear and repetitive instructions on how to live and inherit eternal life by directing "B.C." generations towards Christ and pointing "A.D." generations back to Christ. The constancy and harmony in which He presents doctrine and love throughout Scripture genuinely reflects the Good Father that He is.
We are praising God with Theresa Jones as He has blessed her with a promotion to a full-time teaching position beginning next year.
In addition, Theresa and her sister Hanna are celebrating the long awaited and sought after new birth and baptism of a very close friend! They made many efforts to witness to him and Christ has delivered on His promise of salvation! We can all celebrate with them!
On that note, please be in prayer for Charlie Hastings and for his dad as he and his family attempt to do the same in Christian witnessing, both in words of truth and deeds of love. As one family united in Christ, we are praying for Charlie to receive God's strength, courage, and the Holy Spirit's guidance on how to proceed. We are also praying for the Spirit's power in opening his father's ears to hear the Word, his heart to receive it, and his eyes to see the glory of the Truth.
And lastly, I want to personally thank our church and Restore families for the monetary gift assisting First Choice Reproductive Health towards obtaining a Stork Bus for Kerrville and surrounding communities. This ministry for women in crisis pregnancies is dedicated to save the lives of the unborn but also very much to saving the life of the mother herself by sharing the gospel and truly reflecting the character of Christ. They are a ministry first, disguised as a clinic working directly in opposition to abortion, and I am thankful to be a part of loving others through this mission. God is working quickly as the remaining need is now under $70k. (It started at $220k and was sitting at $110k when I approached our church for help 2 weeks ago.) This gives us yet another very obvious confirmation of what a great and amazing God we serve!
I pray we will all continue to stand in awe of Him as His works continue to unfold and He does "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ep 3.20). Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and our anxieties can be cast away because "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves." (Zp 3.17)
Remember the South Beach Diet? Better than the Atkins, but still not sufficient for abundant life. Good news church: the search is over! We have full access to The South Church Diet of expositional preaching! Complete with Everlasting Bread & Water of Life! Eat up :)
Through our second 9Marks study, the Monday night Restore family was reminded of God's faithfulness through His Word. Hence the reason expositional preaching is to be the main diet of the church.
So that by the power of the Spirit, our lives will be conformed to God's will.
Through our time together on Monday nights, our Restore family continues is reminded of the blessing it is to be a congregation lead by expositional preaching, so that "the Word of Christ would dwell in us richly." Such preaching is supports of our own personal and daily endeavors to "teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to God." -Colossians 3.16
Taryn, Charlie & Toni Hastings' oldest daughter, was accepted into Texas A&M! Please pray for God's continued guidance and protection as she enters this next chapter of her life.
The Lord has provided employment for Bobbi Grimmer through Advantage Care. As the Lord would have it, she will be able to care for a group of girls with Advantage Care, without having to give up other ministries or responsibilities. What an answer to prayer!
Chelsea Thompson requests prayer for the Holy Spirit's leading in her newly begun ministerial work with First Choice Reproductive Health in which she has opportunities to counsel women against abortion and share the Gospel. Please pray that hearts and eyes will be opened to the Truth, and that the lives of these mothers & their unborn will be saved.
Please lift up Chuck Dobson's father and his physical, mental, and spiritual health as he ages. Pray for Chuck and Elyse as they seek the Lord's counsel in how to manage and care for Chuck's father, though living states apart.
Hello again friends, from the Monday night Restore family! We hope you are enjoying the new study on Expositional Preaching as much as we are. We're thankful we can gather while God not only leads our discussions but also reveals His will and guides us in truth. It is a blessing to be a part of a church in which the pastor shepherds by expository preaching, where sermons are marked by biblical content and careful attention has been paid to the context of a passage in order to teach the point of the biblical text. Especially since expositional preaching, as we learned in Week 1 of this study, helps lead us to true spirituality and relationship with Christ. But let us not forget that as the family of South Church, we also have responsibility in ensuring that our pastor's ministry is practically commited and submissive to the Word of God in this way. This was made clear even just last week as we read Paul's address to the church of Galatia in Galatians 1.1-10.
Pastoring can be a difficult responsibility, and so the Lord equips pastors with the spiritual gifts of teaching, encouraging, and leading. In love and faithfulness, please remember to pray for our pastor & elders, that God would lead them to understand Scripture, to live accordingly, and help us do the same through preaching & applying His Word to us.
Pray also that other churches--the body of Christ global--would commit to hearing God's Word preached in a way that His agenda would be exposed, and so shape our lives, building the faith of His people.
Now on a different note, members of our Monday night Restore family continue to give of their time in order to share in the joy of God. Can it really be called "sacrifice" when the joy outweighs what is given up? What a privilege! For example, last Saturday, several folks of various Restore families helped distribute goods with the local Headstart Food Distribution ministry. This is such a blessing to those being served, as well as the one serving, to be a part of. In another area, Paige helped lead a baseball coaches clinic, providing an opportunity to talk about God's faithfulness. Chuck Dobson spoke to a group of FHS students and members of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, encouraging their witness of Christ.
We celebrate & give praise to God in the answering of Lynn Harris' prayer for a job. There are also many prayer requests on the hearts and minds of our Monday night family:
* Bobbi Grimmer--the woman she cares for is in rehab after a fall, and this has affected Bobbi's income. Please pray for this woman's healing and recovery in addition to provision and job security wherever the Lord intends for Bobbi.
* Judah (relatively new to our Restore family and also one of the youngest) would like to attend a mission trip next year to a destination unknown at this time. Please pray that if God wills for him to go, then He will also provide a destination and a way for Judah to raise the necessary finances.
* Heath & Chelsea Thompson are seeking God's direction in ministry and outreach with volunteer work for First Choice Reproductive Health (pro-life) and the possibility of fostering local children. Please pray for God's direction on these matters and for patience to wait upon the Lord.
* Chuck Dobson has been counseling a man through his prison ministry. He's being released from prison for the 2nd time soon. Please pray that the work of the Holy Spirit will be evident in his life this time, that the bondage to sin and rebellion against God would be powerfully broken, and that Christ would reveal himself in such a way that Samson no longer desires sin.
* Elyse Dobson asks prayer for her sister, Debra, as she does not know our Savior and is lost in unbelief. She will be traveling to China soon so please also join us in prayer that God will show up on that trip with a sovereign plan to unveil Himself to her also.
As always, it our sincere desire and earnest prayer that in all our petitions and in all that we do, God would be glorified and His supremacy magnified as we seek to make Him our greatest treasure.
Don't forget about the upcoming event at the Dobsons: Women's Meet & Eat, with the topic of Overcoming Adversity February 27th at 10am. See Elyse Dobson for details!
Heeeeyyy you guuuyyysss!! (<=== think creepy kid from The Goonies here.) Weeee're baaaack!! (<=== now think cute, little blonde girl from Poltergeist.) Or on second thought... don't.
Seriously though, if absence makes the heart grow fonder, then you should be brimming over with all sorts of forgiving love towards our Monday night Restore family for not having written a Restore Recap for, oh, I don't know, let's just say a YEAR!! Though we've been a bit delinquent with our Recaps, our Restore family has been very active on Monday nights meditating on the Word, considering our varied perspectives from our different backgrounds, ages, and sometimes very dry sense of humor... looking at you Chuck. :) You can see in our updated group picture (CHEESE! -photo creds to Tucker!) that we have grown, and yet while many old and new faces appear in South Church, as well as in our Restore family, united we remain in one body through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Speaking of the church, as of this week we concluded our introductory study, "Built Upon The Rock: The Church", in preparation for the next in the series of the "nine marks of a healthy church". During this first study, we were able to discuss what the local church means or has meant to us previously. What it is or even what it isn't. So what is it to you? A building or a body of people? Consumerism or authentic worship? Somewhere you show on Sundays to check your to-do list, or a means by which God displays His glory to the nations? In our readings and discussion of Scripture, we have been able to reflect on our individual experiences in the church, and with the help of biblical concepts, discover a big-picture vision of it. We addressed why Jesus established a church, as well as the Lord's intended design of the different parts of the body of Christ to work together, each according to their purpose and gifts (1 Corinthians 12.4-26), how the church fits into God's plan in Scripture, why it's important to be a member of a church vs. a "Lone Ranger christian", and, finally, how a living, maturing, and growing body of members live distinctly and set apart (holy as called) to glorify God while being conformed to the character of Christ thus being the salt of the earth, a city on a hill, and a light in a dark and lost world (Matthew 5.13-16).
It is with thankful hearts that we, although imperfect, are trusted to be God's hands & feet. In December, members of our Restore family helped Restore Christmas Eve To Our First Responders. It was a treat to meet, sing & pray with, provide dinner and a short sermon for fire fighters & EMTs who were serving the Christmas Eve shift. We hoped to bless, but walked away having been blessed by the Lord for such an opportunity. "It [truly] is better to give than receive." -Acts 20.35
In Matthew 16.18, Jesus promises to build His Church on the "rock" of Peter-like confessions proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah, and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Church family, if we are to fight the good fight, share the gospel, and persevere to the end, it's essential that we "draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10.12-25)
**Note to my fellow Restorers** Spur me on toward love and good deeds, yes, but please spur me away from more than one of Elyse's delicious treats at the end of the night! Or we may have to change our next study to developing the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. Self Control)! Til next time friends!
Hard to believe that nearly a month has passed since efforts were made to Restore Christmas Eve to our First Responders at the Fredericksburg Fire Station. Between the Wednesday & Monday Restore families, and the families of our local EMS & Firefighters, I'd say there were over 40 people at the Christmas Eve outreach, which turned out to be our best yet!
It was an enjoyable effort to declare the Good News of Jesus' birth. Lots of different people in our Restore families contributed in lots of different ways. Toni Hastings provided costumes for our littlest ones who made up a living nativity. Charlie Hastings led us in worship with Joy to the World, and later closed our time with a candle-lit Silent Night. At Annette Waters' suggestion, Tucker Findley testified of how he was supported by the EMTs last summer when he broke his arm. And Paige used that as a springboard for proclaiming Christ's coming & rescuing us in our helpless state, through His birth, death & resurrection. Kerry Jones thanked our First Responders and presented them with Christmas gift cards. And many others from our Restore families contributed food, drink, table decorations, small gifts, etc. for the dinner feast that followed.
We thank God that "It Was A Silent Night." He kept all accidents, emergencies & call-outs at bay, providing a quiet occasion for us to enjoy time with the families of these men & women. It was an encouraging night, sharing in & celebrating God's grace through His Son's birth.
These First Responders were on duty. For our safety & protection, they couldn't step away & take time to attend any of the Christmas Eve services offered throughout our community. Praise the Lord for His provision of such an opportunity for us to take Christ to them instead, to live on mission, on location, at the Fire Department, Main Street, Fredericksburg, Texas.
The Lord is answering prayers! Lynn is recovering from the blood clot in her leg and she is able to work. Patrick has work in New York state. He needs continued prayer for safety--apparently, winter lasts longer up there. Theresa is almost finished with school and is looking for a job teaching next school year. Preparations to sell the Kunzes' house are going well. Charlie needed a job and one was created just for him--so the Hastings are staying put! The families in our group with kiddos who "play ball" have a unique opportunity for ministry and we pray the Lord will use them to further his Kingdom.
We all felt a little sad to see the doctrine series come to a close this week but we ended with some great discussion on what our eternal destiny might look like, how we should live knowing that this earth is not our final destination, and where our hope lies: with CHRIST! We look forward to sharing our testimonies in the weeks to come and growing closer to Jesus as we get to know each other better. We're always looking for new family members--join us on Mondays at the Dobsons' home.
Our Monday night Restore family has nearly busted at the seams & outgrown our space! During the winter months we take to the indoors at the Dobson's home. Though the 35+ bodies keep the room warm, the nearly 20 children alone can occupy the sound-space of the living room. What a great problem to have! Thank You, Lord.
We've grown in more ways than numbers through this doctrinal series, that's for sure! During the first doctrine--the Doctrine of God--we divided into small Sustain-like partnerships & scattered throughout the house. It worked well, but we've really enjoyed the corporate environment during our study of the last five doctrines. Reading through them in a larger group has provided more questions & deeper discussion. It's been especially great to hear our children reading the Scripture aloud and answering questions throughout the chapters.
We're continuing to lift one another's burdens in prayer, as well as seeking opportunities to minister in the community. Know of any? Bring them with you!
We've recently said goodbye (at least for a season) to two of our families who've plugged into another spring activity and the SRS Restore Recovery family. In addition, as things warm up, we're moving back outside. So, if you're looking for a Monday night family to grow through the doctrines with, we've got room & would love to have you & yours.
The Monday family was pretty busy in December. We served pizza & hot chocolate to a group of teens from YoungLife who spent the evening Christmas caroling. Desiring to further serve the families who take part in the monthly food distribution, Olivia Findley came up with the idea to gather new and gently-used toys to help them provide Christmas presents for their children. What a joy it was to see the youngest ones in our Restore family getting involved in sharing the love of Jesus with our community! And on Christmas Eve our Restore family joined others from the community in providing a meal & brief Christmas service to the first responders on-duty at the fire department & EMS and their families. There are still some in our Monday night family who need employment and others who need healing. We're growing steadily, both in numbers and in truth. Thank you, Jesus!
Restore wasn't stopped by a power outage at the Dobsons' house last night. Elyse brought out the candles and we kept on: connecting with each other and being drawn closer to Jesus. What a great reminder from our Father that we should remain in the Light and also be a light to a dark world. We heard some great testimonies of how God is using the folks in our group to further His kingdom. Bethany has made a new friend whom she believes the Lord is ministering to through a new homeschool moms' group. Charlie has been in contact with an old college roommate he shared Christ with twenty years ago and is praying for more fruitful conversations in the future.
We continue to keep Lynn Harris in our prayers; her health issues are a major concern and we confidently place her in the care of the Great Physician. Chuck Dobson has been fighting an infection for three weeks now and prayers for his healing are appreciated. Patrick Toomey is in Houston meeting with several companies and trying to acquire new business. The family asks for prayers for God to go before them and guide their way. The Hasting family is recovering from the loss of Toni's parents this summer and we continue to intercede on their behalf. The Findleys ask for prayer for little Abigail's eye doctor appointment on Friday: that her eyes are doing better and surgery will not even be mentioned. And Praise the Lord- Priscilla is walking!
We pray for hearts which are thankful that our God is sovereign and eyes that are focused on Him when tension comes.
Last Saturday, members of our group met at Linda Colie's place and worked for seven hours: rearranging furniture, cleaning, and organizing her home to be more accessible to her. What a joy it was to see Linda's response to the results. She is giving all the glory to the One most deserving. And seeing the unique gifts each person offered to the project--carpentry, decorating, organizing, cleaning--and the way we all worked together in serving our sister was an added blessing!
Last night's discussion at the Dobson's prompted us to lift up each other in prayer, specifically for husbands/fathers to disciple their families in Christ and mothers/wives to encourage and support them in that role. This is what it means to grow in truth and share life together!
We had a full house-er, front yard- last week at the Dobson's. With Nathan home from his first year at college, Evgeny and Anastasia's baby, Stefan, joining regularly and all six restore-attending Findleys present for the first time this season (baseball, folks), it was quite the crowd. Add to the mix a surprise visit from Joseph and Amanda Morrow, up from Lytle on their anniversary trip, and the Dobson's place was bursting at the seams. Hallelujah!
A few weeks ago, our group began a project to help make a sister's home more accessible and efficient for her. The project will include: building new shelving, rearranging the layout of the home, reorganizing storage spaces and treating our sister to a day out while everything gets taken care of. What a blessing that the Lord has provided the talents, skills and means to pull this off.
A few people from our group checked car vital-signs and distributed food to folks in need last Saturday. And several people from our group will join others from South Church and the community at-large on Saturday morning for the 22nd-annual Texans For Life Coalition "Walk for Life", and event to raise awareness and support for pro-life ministries.
The Hastings hosted a Sonnrise Celebration and Easter Breakfast at their home and invited numerous friends & neighbors. Our restore family provided a great breakfast for everyone to enjoy afterward. One neighbor in particular has been difficult to deal with and the Hastings asked our group to pray for the situation. God answered, providing gracious reconciliation!
The Weidenfeller family (Ricky, Jennifer, Braden & Kaitlyn) has recently joined our group and we've been excited for Jacee McAfee's participation recently as well. We continue to pray for Lynn's foot to heal, Elyse's family, Toni's sister, and Lisa's pregnancy. The South Church ladies' tea is looming and also needs prayer. Braden would like to lead a canned food drive at his school so we're praying for God's guidance there, too.
The Monday family is growing steadily: in number, in community, in truth. We would love to have you join us!
Our restore family ministered to a church in Kerrville by providing and cooking hamburgers. Chuck brought his big BBQ pit-on-wheels for burgers and dogs, while the jump castle was a big hit for kids and provided opportunity for good conversation between the adults. This ministered greatly to the start-up Kerrville area church.
Other highlights mainly include prayer. We prayed for Lynn's leg/foot and God healed it... the next day! We prayed for Bethany's cousin and God caused her unborn baby to gain a tremendous amount of weight. We prayed for many other people, events, and things, too many to mention, pretty much any and every thing we could think of -- and God continues to grow us in peace and grace as He answers each one in His perfect way. We thank God for the love He has shown us through each other.
Need a family? Join us Mondays at the Dobson's.
We have had micro projects this month. We were able to help a high school student with getting the supplies that he needed in order that he would be prepared for school. His parent couldn't do it. That help deepened a relationship with a christian brother whom hopefully will be able to disciple him. We were able to provide some funds to one of our own monday members so he could get some training he needed. Finally we had an "open" restore meal 35 people ate two large pots of chili a mess of hotdogs chips salad dessert.
We were visited by a mom that we had ministered to. She wanted to express her thanks for the help we were able to give them. Mom said that they were praying for help, money had been tight and they didnt have much food. Jesus answered through the monday family. Recently we were visited by a new family to South Church they were checking us out. New to town & new to church, they wondered what restore was all about? So they came only to be greated by the Hastings' family playing with a snake. We will see if they return.
A couple weeks ago the question was asked to whom can we take the gospel. First silence, then something like this "Charlie has been ministering to a woman at work." We met her need for food. Charlie reports "She said over and again "you don't know what my conversation was with God last night and this morning" indicating the need for groceries and the conscious decision to trust that He would provide. So yes, a basket of garden items DID solidify a growing faith". Charle is soon to take over the Monday group. Come visit
The monday group grew by one: Colton Thomas Hastings. Born June 14, 2012 at 2:16pm. He was 8 lbs 11oz and 21 inches long. Both are well. We gave a shower for Toni and delivered meals the week after Colton arrived. Anastasia had the news that her baby is a boy and is very happy about that. Next up: a shower for Anastasia whom will be a first-time mom... without family nearby. Consequently they'll need most everything. In the name of Jesus we've repaired a home, given rides, bought eyeglasses, fed families & prayed.
Broke a leg, loaned a wheel chair: praying. Did school: prayed. Broke collar bone: prayed. Moved out of dad's house into first apartment, but car terminally overheated: praying. Got a job: praised! Answered prayer. Had a vision walking main street: prayed. Walked main street with the Holy Spirit: answered prayer. Took finals: prayed and praying. Hit a hog: prayed. Thankful it wasn't worse. Went on vacation, it rained: prayed. Towed a jeep, fixed a jeep: prayed. Pregnant for the 1st and 6th time: praying! Join us Mondays.
We took some time off and enjoyed a cook out together. Around the first of the year we listed our individual talents, thinking that we might be able to use those skills in the community to raise up our Lord and savior Jesus. At the cook out we discovered more tallents. We are especially adept at setting hot dogs and marshmellows on fire. We are lost as to how to use those skills in ministry. So we continue to lift one another up in prayer. That we might grow together in Christ and proclaim Jesus to the community.
We spent one Restore family meeting praying for the South Church family. We took the directory and split it up among our families, praying for each name. We thank God that we are able to approach Him with our petitions. Additionally we have given rides, prepared food and HEB gift cards to families that are temporarily short on income. We continue to look for ways for our restore family to raise Jesus up in the community. Do you know someone that has a really cheap car. We've a friend in need!
We had a bumpy start to the new year. The holiday and illlness kept us from meeting for two weeks. But then we received a great gift. We had been praying for a healthy baby to be delivered to the Findley family. Priscilla Jane was born on her due date, Friday the 13th. Mom and baby are well. Since then, we've had an opportunity to minister to two families with food and prayer. One needs physical healing and the other spiritual healing. Please remember the lost in your prayers. How may our family minister to yours?
We as a group continued what we started three years ago. Thanking those that are away from their families serving the community on christmas eve, in our case the EMS. This year was bigger and better a full orchetra accompaniment and choir. We did Handles Messiah for the crew delivered food and prayed with them. Ok: no Messiah, just some Christmas songs, two guitars and a violin. We were encouraged when we made the contact and were told that it really makes a difference to the crew. Pray they draw closer to Christ.
Sustain 101 got us focusing on missional ministry. Where and How can we help others have a personal and eternal relationship with the Creator of the Universe? We made an inventory of our gifts and skills and discovered that God has blessed us with a lot to offer! The idea was to inform each other on who we could call on in our restore family when there's a missional opportunity. By meeting needs we hope to develop relationships where we can declare Jesus.
We continue through the Sustain 101 booklets along with other groups and should finish in two weeks. The Monday group encourages you to read the Bible daily. The Lord will continue to reveal Himself to you through His Word and through the Body of Christ. Enough preaching. The Rowleys moved away but report they are doing well despite everything being new. The McCorkles have elected to stay home Mondays. The Hastings family has been an added blessing! If you're interested in helping others grow in Christ, join us Monday night.
School has started and folks are having to adjust to new schedules. After helping move one in our restore family last month, a back-to-school outreach, and the Headstart food distribution we're praying for the Lord's leading as to what's next: "Lord lead us into relationships where we can declare your glory. Open the doors that You want us to go through with a helping hand." If you know of someone in the community that needs Jesus please let us know. If you want to grow with others in Christ, join us Monday night.
By God's guidance and grace, we've been trying to encourage a friend named Sarah at JEKs West. If you find yourself on that end of town, stop in and say 'hello'. We recently reached out to residents on Mazurek Loop going door-to-door with back-to-school supplies & prayer. We're sad to say 'goodbye' to the Rowley family as they move to Oregon. How about you? Are you looking for a family? Join ours this Monday. Come grow with us in our love for Christ and for one another as we minister to our neighbors near and far.
God provided an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we grilled some burgers and dogs for the 9-10 year old softball all-stars and their families.
Jesus lead the Monday group and the entire South Church family in an outreach at the Highland Oaks apartments in June 9th. Through multiple efforts we've learned our way to a better turn out. This last effort was our best in terms of numbers. We were able to serve 140 burgers, 2 dozen dogs, 130 snowcones and make a few more friends. Pray that Jesus will be proclaimed to & through HO residents.
Ministry continues at Highland Oaks Apartments in the way of a community garden. They are planning of throw a big party on June 9th to celebrate the completion of the garden, and all of South Church is encouraged to attend! Please pray for God's direction as these plans are made and that all the residents know the love of Christ!