In the third week of the “Sinkholes” series, Pastor Nate warns about the precursors to a collapse within our relationships; romantic, familial, friendship, etc. There are three areas in any relationship to shore up or avoid altogether; secrets, our ability to forgive, selfishness. Keeping secrets erodes trust, harboring grudges undermines trust, being selfish cancels out affection. As with any foundation, preventative maintenance goes a long way. We can learn to combat secrets with honesty, the inability to forgive with compassion, and selfishness with humility. It is going to take a lot more conscious effort to keep your relationships on a firm foundation than to let them collapse, and that includes your relationship with God as well. However, as Pastor Nate discussed at the beginning of the series; “sin will always cost you more than you’re willing to pay.” Once you’re attempting to pick up the pieces at the edge of the gaping crater in your life, you’ll wish you had a few of those minutes back when you could have laid a better foundation from the start or established some healthier habits and maintained it properly.
In the second week of the “Sinkholes” series, Pastor Andrew reminds us not to be concerned with roles & labels but to concern ourselves with who God says we are. The farther we’re drawn into the lie of our value being in what we can & cannot do for others, even God, the closer we are drawn to an inevitable collapse. “In the moment where we don’t have our role anymore, we are terrified to exist”. But keeping your identity in God & who He says you are, the stronger you will be and the more able you will be to endure the shifts in the world & your relation to it without falling into a sinkhole.
In the first week of the “Sinkholes” series, Pastor Nate Gagne preaches about the collapses that can come when we don’t address the decay in our life before it becomes a disaster. Most of the time, there are warning signs, whether the sinkholes are literal or figurative. Ignoring the warning signs & not addressing the stress fractures can not only lead to a collapse in your life, but it can impact others as well. As worldwide Christian leader Ravi Zacharias says, “sin can take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” The preventative maintenance, whether physical or spiritual, will in the end have been far less costly in terms of time, money & potential lives lost than when a sinkhole inevitably opens up. It’s not a question of if, provided you fail to address the warning signs, but when.
In this standalone sermon, Pastor Nate speaks about the ‘pumpkin spice craze’ and how we sometimes can feel as though a good thing has gone too far; i.e. pumpkin spice dog treats. It’s easy to become sick of things that you used to like due to over-exposure. However, the law of diminishing return does not apply to God. The more you know Him and seek to come to a greater understanding of Him, the more results you will yield in your life. You can never have too much of God’s presence; unlike pumpkin spice, it never gets old.
In the final installment of the “Kingdom Builders” series, Pastor Nate lays out the intended missions projects for the church next year. We are encouraging kingdom building at all levels; children, youth, adults. In Ezra chapter 8 we learn that God can orchestrate the resources to rebuild & relocate His kingdom, it’s just up to us to pursue His promise. The concern shouldn’t be on what we need or what we don’t have for resources, but what God can give us to help us meet the needs of those who have even less physical resources & awareness of God than we have. Sometimes it takes radical faith to see your life & your world changed.
In the second week of the “Kingdom Builders” series, Pastor Nate Gagne relates the journey to becoming a kingdom builder to the journey to becoming a husband. You have to start living the promises before you get to the point of making them. When dating, one begins to ‘walk the walk’ of being true only to that person, being there for them in good times & bad, in sickness & in health, etc before they ‘talk the talk’ of officially making the vows. In this way, we must begin working toward the miracle we know God is going to do to advance His kingdom, even before we can see the results. Pursuing the promise God has for us costs provisions. He will be faithful to supply them, however, we must be faithful to submit to His will & trust Him that His plan is far greater than our own.
In the first week of the “Kingdom Builders” series, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks about the necessity for courage, community and abandonment of one’s comfort zone to truly reach just one more. As the prophet Ezra led a group of exiled Jews back into Judea, Northern New England is a mission field of its own. The mission of Restoration Church is to provide the courage and community to enable those who have found out about Jesus’ love to step out of their comfort zone to help lead someone else.
In the final week of the “Anthems” series, guest speaker Jonathan Cashman whom Pastor Nate attended bible college with, relates the song “Sit Next to Me'“ by Foster the People to the mission we should have as followers of Christ. Drawing from his book “Go” regarding discipleship, Jonathan details what discipleship is at its core; to be available for people and to carry God’s message to them by showing them love. Those who reject the church often do so because they either find it judgmental or bureaucratic. The attitude of a judgmental or bureaucratic environment would be the opposite of “sit next to me”, however, Jesus led His ministry in an attitude of following, doing and participating. Before His death, Jesus taught many but really connected with a core group which we call the disciples. For three years they observed and served with Jesus. The more they portrayed the “sit next to me” attitude, the more people were intrigued and whose hearts began to be opened toward Jesus. This was only possible through their sacrifice and willingness to love and foster others.
In the third week of the “Anthems” series, Pastor Nate compares King David’s response to his sin to Imagine Dragons’ response to what it takes to be successful. Imagine Dragons calls out today’s culture as one of those who are described as being “cold”, “cutthroat” & having “hearts of stone”. Although it can seem easier not to feel anything, you end up living in a constant state of hurt. Asking for forgiveness is difficult & you save a lot of face by keeping mistakes to yourself. However, if one can own up to their sins & ask for forgiveness as King David does in Psalm 6, the freedom they will walk in is far more satisfying than the secrets they’d have to keep to maintain the lies to hide their sins. As Imagine Dragons puts it, “you gotta be so cold to make it in this world”. The wonderful thing about God is that He offers us a life beyond the cold-heartedness the world calls for.
In the second week of the “Anthems” series, Pastor Nate compares Psalm 6 to Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry”. Grande likely wrote this song in response to the 2017 suicide bombing of one of her concerts in England in which a number of her fans were killed. King David wrote Psalm 6 in response to sorrow over his own sin toward God. We often rationalize our own sins but feel the full weight of sins against us. In this way, King David’s Psalm showcases the similarity between sin against God & sin against others. “When we sin against God, our reaction should be greater than when someone sins against us.”
In the first week of the “Anthems” series, Pastor Nate Gagne compares the popular Panic! at the Disco song “Say Amen” to Psalm 73 in which the writer begins to question if living his life for God will have been worth it at the end of his life. In the popular song, Panic! at the Disco singer Brendon Urie expresses the disconnect between his religious upbringing which he cannot completely abandon but in the end, he chooses his current lifestyle. In the Psalm, the writer Asaph declares in verse 28, “but as for me, it is good to be near God”. Although Asaph lived generations before Urie, the important question in their lives remained the same; what do I want my life to be & where does God fit into it?
In this stand alone sermon, Pastor Nate Gagne poses the question; "what would we see as a supernatural church, living out a supernatural word, following a supernatural God?" In the natural, we're just a group of people, in the supernatural, we have gifts, talents, resources that don't make sense. One of our church's core values is: "our God is able", we believe for a strong movement of God in Londonderry as we launch there next week because He's bigger than the limitations we put on Him.
In the final week of the "Launch" series, Pastor Nate Gagne preaches about not growing weary. Pastor Nate brings up the history of the founding of famous companies YMCA, Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby, KFC, Harvard & Yale. What they all have in common is that they started out with or found a christian mission, how they differ is in the realization of that mission. Colonel Sanders found Jesus at 77, after he had already sold KFC. He continued to give to the church throughout the rest of his life as he was quoted as saying, "there's no point to being the richest guy in the cemetery". Launching a mission with Jesus as your guidance system can bring you success, the key is to not abandon Him to go it alone when you feel you can "take it from here".
In the third week of the "Launch" series, Dover Location Pastor Dan Dedrick reads from Acts chapter 4 in which Peter & John persisted in spreading the gospel even after Jesus had been crucified & resurrected. "Persist, don't resist when opposition happens". It would have been far easier for them to renounce the name of Jesus & go back to living as they had before they knew Jesus. However, their mission was not finished and through His death & resurrection, Jesus became the ultimate example of perseverance for your mission. In His death, He showed that His mission was more critical than His own life & exemplified that there is nothing to fear when you're on mission, because not even death could stop Him. Pastor Dan leaves us with this meaningful quote; "if you're going through hell, don't stop at the rest area. Keep going." The perseverance of Peter & John helped to further the gospel even after most would have deemed the mission scrapped after the seeming loss of their captain. However, as Peter says to the religious leaders of the day; "even though Jesus is no longer among us, He is still alive."
In the second week of the "Launch" series, Pastor Nate Gagne lays out the importance of finding the right team for your important mission. Just as NASA has a lengthy selection process for astronauts with many substitutes standing by in case of sickness & many subcontractors specializing in every small function, Jesus has selected carefully every team He gives a mission to. In Acts chapter 1, the bible illustrates the period following Jesus' death & the selection of a new Disciple after Judas' death. The criteria laid out for Judas' replacement can be applied to the selection process for our own mission team. The remaining Disciples were looking for someone who was a follower, a witness, and someone who was faithful. Similarly, when adding to their team, any organization, such as NASA, would look for someone who; believes in & has witnessed their mission, who is faithful to their organization, and who is willing to follow their leadership in order to help rather than hinder the team function. It's important to find out a person's true character before you adding them to your team so you can ensure they'll be helpful in your mission & not detrimental. Many might wonder why Jesus would have chosen Judas, knowing things would end up as they did. But we must remember, in the betrayal & death, there was an example & a purpose.
Pastor Nate initiates the new series, "Launch", by comparing the preparations for the launching of a 3rd Restoration Church campus to the pre-flight checks used by NASA. You don't launch a spacecraft unless "all systems are go". Similarly, in our lives, God will give us "goes" or "no goes" based on the mission & trajectory He has planned for us. "If you pray as a last resort, you'll miss the resources God has for you. He wants us to see what He can do in us, through us & for us." In the same way, God uses the power of prayer as an example of His faithfulness in response to our own. Famous NASA scientist Jerry Woodfill was brought to an awareness of God through the power of prayer. He saw many miraculous things while at NASA but none more than Apollo 13. A mission that should have ended in total casualty but instead caused a world united in prayer to successfully see their prayers answered when, against all odds, the entire team returned safely home. The more you trust God, the farther He will expand your mission & the more you will have to depend on Him to see it through.
In the final installment of the, "We Are The Church" series, Pastor Dan Dedrick preaches about how our response to the mission we have can sometimes be more telling than the mission itself. Being willing to step out in faith isn't enough, we must also be willing to sacrifice on behalf of the mission. "Being available & ready are the very elements of what the mission calls us to do." Pastor Dan illustrates this by reading from the story of Zaccheus. Zaccheus was a notoriously dishonest tax collector who did what he had to just to see Jesus pass by, but instead of getting overlooked, Jesus stopped the entire procession to notice him. And in our day to day, we so often overlook other people in pursuit of our own mission or objective. In this way, Jesus shows us that even the smallest of the small or dishonest of the dishonest deserve our attention & deserve His grace.
In the second week of the, "We Are the Church" series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek speaks on the importance of having a community around you. Over half of those surveyed in the UK stated they don't feel that they have even one meaningful connection in their lives. In response to this, the UK has recently added a Minister of Loneliness to their federal roles. The paradoxical thing about loneliness is, one often times has to reach out to remedy it; which can seem very difficult to a lonely person. Similarly, we must recognize that our faith alone can't save the world, but our actions working alongside others and the capacity we build through relationships is what truly mobilizes us. Jesus showed this through His attention to even those in trees, on mats, trailing behind just to touch the hem of his garment. The more time & attention we show to others, the more significant we help them to feel.
In this first installment of the, "We Are the Church" series, Pastor Chris Pike speaks on being a member of a team or church & how every task, no matter how small it seems, makes an impact. Whether a positive or a negative impact depends on whether or not you have a good attitude about it or even show up to begin with. As a church, we all believe we have different gifts from God, just as business leaders believe all of their staff have different talents. The more we foster each other and help each other to grow those gifts & talents to be utilized, the more satisfied we'll likely be & the more effective we'll be in our mission; which holds true from a business or church perspective.
In this standalone sermon, Pastor Nate re-illustrates the mission of Restoration Church through one of Jesus' core teachings. In a parable in Luke 14, Jesus explains how there are many excuses we employ not to come to Him; we are too busy with work, we are too busy with our own interests, we are too busy with family responsibilities. It's important to remember that Jesus paid a price so you could live; none of those things would be possible without Him. However, instead of letting His offer go unheeded, He commands His servant to go out & invite everyone; even those the world would likely cast aside. In this way we see that Restoration Church's mission of, "Just One More", the purpose behind expanding our community into others throughout our area is directly in-line with Jesus' mission.