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.
In the final installment of the "Elijah" series, Pastor Nate preaches from 1 Kings 19 in which Elijah thought he was alone in serving the Lord after all the other apostles he knew had been executed. God came to him through a "whisper" or a "still small voice" to encourage him that there were actually thousands of believers still alive. God encourages us to keep going even when we feel we are overrun. Restoration comes from the most impossible circumstances; it takes God's intervention & comfort to push us into fulfilling the plans He has for us.
In the third week in the "Elijah" series, Pastor Nate illustrates the struggle to compromise by speaking about a time he went to a Yankees game with Yankees fans. God takes us down many different paths that can seem contradictory to what we want, what we should understand is if our will is at odds with God's, we're the ones that moved & need to be moved again. God will not put you in a compromising position; but these positions we put ourselves in can serve to show us the need to trust God.
In the second week of the "Elijah" series, Pastor Nate reads from 1 Kings 17 in which a widow's faith is restored through Elijah's belief & Elijah's need is fulfilled by the restoration of the widow's faith. Pastor Nate encourages everyone to be someone else's Elijah as you never know where your faith can take you & who you can help touch along the way when you follow God's prompting.
In the first week of the "Elijah" series, Pastor Nate Gagne likens God's refining of us to a rock tumbler shining stones. It can be a lengthy process, but if you have faith in God to complete the work, you will come out of it as a representation worthy of what God's done in your life & as an example to others as to what He's capable of doing. Just as the shiny stones are unrecognizable from their state before the tumbling, a person whose public & private lives reflect Jesus' work in them are unrecognizable from their walk before Jesus.
In the final installment of the "Restoration" series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek speaks about seeing the potential in things as the grounds for restoration. However, he cautions against getting so swept up in the process that you neglect the final product. Just as a parent can sometimes work so hard to provide for their family that they never see them or an antique car collector can spend months restoring a car to let it sit in the garage, looking for a restoration of faith is moot if you won't use that restored faith for a purpose. God desires for us to be restored to Him; He can initiate the restoration process, but it's up to us to complete as He never moved, we did.
In the third week of the "Restoration" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne uses an illustration from his life in which he found himself very low in his faith to show how God restores joy in us to rival the joy we felt when we found Him.
In the second week of the "Restoration" series, Pastor Nate uses the illustration of Jesus healing the Leper to exemplify Jesus' cleansing of us from our sins. No matter what you've done in your life, if you accept Jesus, you'll come to realize He's accepted you all along. As part of our restoration to Jesus' family, we are called to pay it forward by going out & telling those who are where we were so that they might become clean & be restored too.
In this last week of the "Masterpiece" series, Deacon Mike Younus uses an unexpected tragedy in his family to illustrate the importance of taking the time to make the masterpiece you would like your family to become. Some of the most accomplished artists & writers take years to improve their works, and many are never fully satisfied to the point they stop working toward a better version. Family is similar; it will likely never be perfect, but the more you make it your lifelong work, the more you'll be satisfied with the progress throughout the years.
In this third installment of the "Masterpiece" series, Pastor Nate discusses the two commandments centered specifically around family; honor thy father & mother and do not covet your neighbor's wife. Just as you would seek specialized help to restore a precious piece of art and frame it for all to see upon entering your house, you should treat your family as the same; a masterpiece. More and more couples are deciding to get divorced, even late into life, and many couples with children are deciding to cohabit & forgo marriage altogether. However, God designed marriage as a lasting bond, so much so that he even equated Jesus' love for the church to that of a bridgeroom for his bride. Make your family a masterpiece by showing them the same care you would a precious masterpiece; spare no expense trying to restore it.
In this second week of the "Masterpiece" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne reflects on his own experiences as a father as well as bringing in the experiences of experts in both the fields of children & faith. Famous missionary David Livingstone penned in his memoirs that his greatest regret from his missionary days is losing time with his children. Current experts in children's health state parents should spend at least ten minutes per day with their child. Ten minutes a day may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way in forging a relationship. Just as God will not know you when the time comes if you have not had a relationship with Him, you may lose out on relationships with grandchildren & future family gatherings if you are not invested in your relationships with your family. Even the greatest works of art, true masterpieces, often took many attempts & countless hours to create. There were revisions & mistakes along the way, but the trick is never giving up.
Pastor Nathan Gagne relates some of our commitments to the struggles in our lives to that of Japanese Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda who refused to believe WWII had ended & continued to wreak havoc in the Philippines jungle until a former superior officer was brought in to order him to surrender. Onoda fought a war which had been over for 30 years due to his unwillingness to believe the papers or those who encountered him. At times, we can be like Onoda; missing out on the truth because we are holding on to our past way of life. Jesus came to earth to surrender himself in order that we could be set free from the wars we fight. We can either choose to accept His word that the war is over and we can walk in freedom, or we can be like Onoda, clinging to our old ways and fighting a war we've already been released from.
In this final installment of the "Influence" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne discusses how a small, seemingly insignificant thing such as a seed can change the world as things were with Norman Borlaug whose drought-resistant seed engineered in the mid-twentieth century is still helping to feed indigent populations in drought-stricken areas worldwide. No matter how small our influence & contribution seems, God can use it to change the world if only we're willing to use it.
In the second week of the "Influence" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne compares the church Jesus calls us to be in Matthew 5, the salt & the light, to the other types of churches we sometimes find; the freeze-dried church (afraid of the world/letting anyone else in), the blender church (conformity is their goal), the anchovy church (attempting to make other churches look bad), etc. Restoration Church is in no way a perfect place, but the goal is to help Just One More person follow Jesus & along with that comes caring for our community & embracing those in all walks of life.
In the first installment of the "Influence" series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek uses the story of Joseph who went from favored son to slave to prisoner to second in command over all Egypt to illustrate the impact of influence in the lives of those around you. Even as Joseph found himself in worse & worse positions, he continued to show his character which influenced others to respect & promote him to areas of authority. The same can be said for us as Christians; we must remember the power our influence has over the eternal decisions of others. Whether or not your friends & family decide to believe in Jesus can have something to do with your attitude toward life & how you interact with others. Just as misery loves company, most people steer clear of things that appear to have a negative impact. If someone goes to church but is the meanest, least cheerful person on the block, they are likely to influence others away rather than toward Jesus. Conversely, if someone goes to church and displays the fruit of the Spirit (peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, self-control, etc.) they are more likely to influence others toward Jesus.
In this standalone message, Pastor Nathan Gagne reiterates Restoration Church's vision for 2017; Grow. Pastor Nate highlights some of the ways the church grew in the past year; locations, attendance, giving, salvations, baptisms. The vision for 2018 is revealed in a sweet surprise; whoopie pies for all, one for each person in service & one to give to a friend. In this way, Pastor Nate gave everyone in service the opportunity to help influence someone toward Jesus in a simple, quirky, memorable way. Who doesn't love whoopie pies? Who doesn't find it easier to approach someone when they're not empty-handed? There is nothing special about the whoopie pie itself, or the time or place it's given, but there could be something special about the moment; it could be the moment someone decides to consider Jesus.
In the final installment of the "This Year Will Be Different" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne reiterates King Solomon's warning against a 4th people group, the scoffers. A scoffer is a person whose general aim is to distract from, discredit or demean a teaching, thought-process or ideal. Pastor Nate still vividly remembers his own encounter as a 7 year-old with scoffers in a church service. The scoffer's main danger is the influence they can have over those without a strong focus. Although Pastor Nate continued to follow God following this encounter, there might have been others drawn off by the boisterous shouts of those scoffers. He reiterates another point with a more recent story of two brothers at a recent summer camp. The older brother refused to participate & went as far as openly mocking the services and his younger brother followed suit. Pastor Nate was shocked to hear from their grandfather that the younger brother often talked with him in curiosity about God. However, due to the scoffing influence in his life, his actions did not reflect the true desires of his heart. Throughout this series, Pastor Nate has reiterated that "you must allow your character to influence your circumstances" instead of the other way around. This is the downfall of others where the scoffer is concerned but could be his uplifting if others being using their character to change the circumstances.
In the third installment of the "This Year Will Be Different" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne reads from Proverbs regarding King Solomon's warnings about the seductress. Contrary to popular belief, God does not spurn sexual desire but created it as an integral part of a healthy marriage relationship. Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we pursue images, accounts and experiences outside of what God intended.
In this second installment of the "This Year Will Be Different" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne continues to read from the book of Proverbs in which King Solomon (often considered one of the wisest men ever to have lived) warns against four types of people. Last week Pastor Nate examined passages regarding the foolish, this week he examines those regarding the sluggard (a biblical word for lazy person). Solomon warned that those who do not work do not eat & that laziness often leads to poverty. Additionally, throughout other parts of the bible, there are illustrations given of those who do nothing with what they are given who in turn are not trusted with as much again. Those who exhibit the character traits of the sluggard inherit the characteristic circumstances; little is entrusted to them, they often lack what they need, they often go hungry/without. Learning to change your character takes a lot of work, but allowing your character to impact your circumstances rather than the other way around will be beneficial in the long-run.
In this first week of the "This Year Will Be Different" series, Pastor Nathan Gagne examines the writings of Solomon in the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs chapter 9, Solomon compares the virtues wisdom & folly; one leading to added years of life, one to an expedited death. Following up on the "Stories" series, Pastor Nate shares from his own life in that this year, the wisdom he is practicing is to scale back on travel, being more strategic about work engagements, so he may spend more time with his family. It's important to acknowledge what steps you hope to take in this new year & whether they reflect wisdom or folly.