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.
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.