The hands & feet of the Body of Christ at South Church. The horizontal mission of the Church must be rooted in vertical love & knowledge of the Lord. As Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." Restore families seek to live out what is learned through Proclaim & Sustain.
Followers of Jesus, linked in arms, facing outward: growing in Truth, living on mission, sharing life together.
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.
I was blessed to be off this past Tues. and in no need to rush home early from Restore as has been my habit for nearly a year now working at Serenity House. I had forgotten how much it means to me to join in the discussion of the Sunday sermon and share what God has taught me over these many years. What a joy to hear of the many prayer requests, answered prayers and needs of our fellowship. How else are we to minister to one another if we are not aware of the many events that mark our lives and the movement of God in them? It was like being reconnected.
We are joyful in the news that the Stevens are expecting their third grandchild and still looking to Christ for the reclamation of their son Andrew. Pray the Lord will break through his denial of the Truth he was taught and stir up the Word within him to bring him to repentance and faith. For all our wayward son's and daughters we lift up the same prayer of faith.
Our beloved Jaycee Bivens has found love again in the revealed will of God for her life and is engaged to be married to John Creech. Ironically he has a close association, and a great back story, to the Murphys and McDonalds of South Church. If you noticed, a couple of Sundays ago, that tall, dark stranger sitting with her in worship, that's him. So technically he is already family and Louise's nephew. Our joy is bubbling over for the end of a long road of suffering and loss for her and grateful for God's surprising grace and timing. Best of all they are like minded in their committment to Christ and we feel sure He will greatly use them throughout the course of their marriage.
Our dear Elder and friend Brad experienced a heart attack early Sunday morning and was ambulanced to Austin Heart Hospital where he underwent the placement of a stent in one of the major arteries of his heart. He has some other blockage that they will try to control with medication. Please join us, as I'm sure you have already, in praying for his swift recovery and return to ministering to his wife Lynnda, South Church and his work.
Les' son Brandon has joined the Navy, following after his dad, and will be starting boot camp soon. Pray for him and also for the resolution of some health issues Les has been dealing with.
Hank and John Culpepper have kept all of us in peaches and plums in this bumper year for fruit. What a fine array of peach pies and cobblers and crisps we have seen and enjoyed.
God's bountiful provision for our needs has filled us with confidence that He loves as He has said and will soon bring us, His waiting Bride, to Himself and lead us in victory over everything contrary to His Truth and authority, until all is put under His footstool. For that Day we long and persevere, by His grace alone. Soli Deo Gloria!