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.
It's almost the New Year again and as usual we try to measure gains and losses and evaluate how we can improve, slow down, just keep moving! The latter is our real challenge as age forces us to recognise our limitations. As Churchill said, "When the body fails, let wisdom suffice."
We continue to labor in prayer for our children, our neighbors and friends, and to encourage one another in the fellowship. A Brighter Day is coming! Granted, we may see it darken more before He comes, just as our reading in Revelation right now encourages us... "this calls for the perseverance of the Saints."
We do not know the day or time He will come, but we do know there are many yet to come into the Kingdom. God, cause us to make sharing the Gospel a priority rather than gathering goods that will burn; loving the souls of men, as the Bridegroom is at the door. Are we making ready? Are our wicks trimmed and lamps filled with oil? Do we love Him more than this life, family, lands? God, by Your infinite wisdom and grace, prepare Your people for Your return. For the sake of the elect, kindle Holy fire in all of us who love You and are called according to Your purposes. Desire of Ages, fill us with power, that we be found faithful when You come. Until then, help us to love one another well, with sincerity and humility, forgiving and bearing with one another for the sake of the unity You desire for Your Church. For apart from You we can do nothing! As they see our love, You have promised that they will know we are Yours. Cause us to be faithful in the little, that Your Son might be exalted in the much.
We wish you all a joyous Christmas, in the Lamb slain for our good.
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.