In the first week of the “Prodigal God” series, Pastor Nate speaks from Luke chapter 15 in which Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. We have a mis-perception of the term ‘prodigal’ as meaning one who returns, however, it’s actually referring to the recklessness with which the aforementioned son expended his resources before coming back to the father. We have all left God at one point or another, whether or not we return home is up to us. Sometimes, just like the Prodigal Son, we must experience what it’s like without our father to understand the depth of his kindness, love and goodness. God’s love is like that of a good father; He continually leaves a light on for us to find our way home and spares no expense welcoming us back once we make a decision to come. God freely gives His love, but we must decide whether to accept it or to walk away.
In the final week of the “Mental Hell” series, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks about our human tendency to cover up our sins rather than confess them. The more we try to cover up, through substances, lies, or other means, the more energy we expend moving farther from God’s will. The truth eventually comes out & we only serve to hurt ourselves, and potentially others, in the process. God gave His son Jesus to set us free; the deeper we entrench ourselves in our sins, the more we suffer needlessly. It’s never too late & we can never walk far enough away from God to be unable to be redeemed by Him. You have to make a conscience decision to leave your mental hell in order for God to help you escape from it. The more you confess to God in your prayers, confess to others when asking for forgiveness & confess to yourself that how you see yourself isn’t how God sees you, the closer you will get to freedom from your mental hell.
In the second installment of the “Mental Hell” series, Pastor Nate’s wife Michelle Gagne shares about her personal experiences in the mental health field as well as some of her own Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Even if things have happened to you in your lifetime, God can heal your mind & self-image where these experiences are concerned. God calls you “chosen”, “loved”, “a son or daughter”, “conqueror”, “coheir”, “beautifully & wonderfully made” and many other things. When we allow words spoken over us by others to drown out God’s voice, that’s when we lose His vision for us, and we often turn to self-medication tactics to fill the void. The more we seek out & embrace the person God says we are, the more confidence we will have & we may even be able to help someone else walk out of the lies dictating their lives as well.
In the first week of the “Mental Hell” series, Pastor Nate Gagne lays out the two causes for mental health issues; physiological & spiritual. Physiological reasons could be a diagnosed disorder or a chemical imbalance in the brain. Spiritual reasons could be an attack from tormenting spirits such as those Saul experiences in 1 Samuel 16 in the bible. There is no shame in experiencing mental health challenges due to either cause. However, the enemy will leverage spiritual forces against you, especially if you are already struggling in the physical, in order to try to get you to stop trusting God for a resolution or to keep you from asking Him to help you in the first place. There is definitely a space for conventional medicine & therapy in improving mental health. However, God knows everything about you; He has the power to bring your physiological issues into alignment as well as to chase away the tormenting spirits that plague you. It’s not God’s will that you should suffer & struggle but that you would be made whole, complete & confident in caring out your calling.
In this standalone message, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks about the events leading up to Jesus’ death and the reaction following it. Jesus came so that we could have life. He lived knowing he would be subject to death for the things we would do wrong. God sent Him in place of us to take our punishment. If we walk with Jesus, He can show us the path to life & keep us from the pitfalls that we can experience trying to walk without Him. In our darkest moments, He is the light Who keeps us from stumbling blindly in the dark. He went ahead of us & experienced the punishment for all of our missteps so that we wouldn’t have to. Continuing to stumble around blindly in the dark is a choice you can make, because Jesus will never force you to follow Him, but the path is so much more enjoyable when you decide to.
In the final week of the “Uncharted Territory” series, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks about the difference between miracles of action & miracles of desperation. Miracles of desperation are what we often think of; crying out to Jesus in our darkest moments of need. Miracles of action are often less thought of but more powerful; such as the lame walking, the blind seeing, the leper being cleansed. The more obedience, courage and faith a miracle takes, the more the action steps you modeled for someone else toward Jesus. It seems unbelievable when someone is miraculously healed, but that’s something only God can do. God calls us to miracles of action to pave the way for others as faith takes action which can only be modeled. Similarly, we only learned how to love once we saw Jesus’ love modeled for us. To step out in faith & experience the miracle of action is to help give someone else the courage to step out into their uncharted territory of exploring Who God is.
In the second week of the “Uncharted Territory” series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek speaks from the book of Acts in which Cornelius gets saved after Peter listens to the promptings of God although they are against the popular Jewish culture. The Jewish believers were skeptical of Peter’s involvement with the gentiles, non-Jewish people. When God gives us a vision to move into uncharted territory, we must come to the realization that God is moving in our lives and He makes that vision a reality. What seems impossible to us or a major culture shift is often no barrier for God. God’s will is to reach all people; what’s uncharted or uncomfortable for us are lands and peoples He created.
In the first installment of the “Uncharted Territory” series, Pastor Nate Gagne reads from the book of Acts in which the early church was disobedient to Jesus’ will; speaking only to other Jews & remaining in Jerusalem even though Jesus had called them to go out into all the world and make disciples. We as the modern church still grapple with the issue of getting comfortable in our routines, groups, buildings instead of bringing God’s message to those who don’t know Jesus and having our lives be a testimony to non-believers. We need to bring the presence of God everywhere we go as the likelihood of people getting up early on a Sunday to come into a church building is very slim. Although it’s easier to remain in our comfort zones, we must step out into uncharted territory in order to truly follow God’s call.
In the third installment of the “Passion” series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek speaks about the power in being single. The culture of today’s society is that we need to test drive the relationship before we take it the step of marriage. However, the statistics from the US attorney’s office point to a higher divorce rate in couples that lived together prior to getting married. If your desire is to get married, as the bible explains in 1 Corinthians 7, it should come from passion. God ordained marriage and the expression of sexual desires within that covenant. But entering into a passionless relationship purely because you feel that was the natural progression of the relationship will only end in derision. You cannot truly express your passions in life if you’re fearful of losing a relationship. There will never be a perfect relationship, but we have a perfect Savior who can help us attain the passions He has put in us. The true goal of marriage is to find someone who will stand beside you and spur you on toward those God-ordained passions while stoking the flames of the passion within your relationship.
In the second week of the “Passion” series, Pastor Nate speaks about affairs and how “seeking a daytime of passion can lead to a lifetime of regret”. Although no one ever sets out to enter a marriage with the intention of it ending eventually in an affair, we often spend our lives chasing the heat of passion once we feel our marriage cooling down and getting cold. In Proverbs chapter 6, Solomon warns against the allure of someone other than your spouse. Current culture embraces the idea that looking but not touching is acceptable, however, Jesus warns against this as being the same as committing adultery with that person. The only way to snuff out the spark of an affair before it fans into an oil-well fire, destroying the valuable resource of your marriage, is to truly realize the value of rekindling the relationship you already have.
In the first week of the “Passion” series, Pastor Nate Gagne reads from Song of Solomon in which a bride is talking to her groom. God didn’t create us with feelings to have an emotionless life, the things we equate with marital satisfaction are passions that God ordained. However, when we take them out of the context of marriage or pervert them with our own images of what marriage should be, that’s when relationships start to burn out. Pastor Nate equates a cold marriage to a cold house; it’s just uncomfortable. The key to reigniting your marriage is to provide lots of kindling rather than gasoline (positive reinforcements rather than accelerants) and to fan the sparks back into a flame. Rather than turning the cold shoulder or playing the blame game, celebrate the victories over pettiness and try to remember to be kind, even when it’s difficult.
In this standalone sermon, Pastor Nate lays out the vision for Restoration Church in 2019 & gives a big announcement that will be coming Fall 2019. Restoration’s goals really center around local church expansion, developing future christian leaders, and supporting global missions. This not only comes in the form of money but in terms of prayer, leadership, partnership and fellowship. As in 2 Corinthians 4, God has called us to overcome momentary struggles to reach eternal goals. We are in a season of growth within our church, and with that must come a growth in our vision & mission.
In the final week of the “Begin Again” series, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks from Joshua chapter 24, in which Joshua proclaims the famous adage, ‘but as for my family, we will praise the Lord”. Joshua makes this statement in response to his question for the other Israelite people. Moses had only brought them so far, some had entered the promised land but some continued to question their next steps. In this statement, Joshua draws attention to the reason the Isrealites came as far as they had, God. Joshua proclaims that he will continue to follow God because he never could have gotten as far as he had without God. Although failure is not our future, as we have learned through the series, God will allow us to fail if we choose to. God is loving & just; His love moves Him toward blessing us, but His justice stays His hand when we decide we don’t want to embrace His blessings & provisions.
In the second week of the “Begin Again” series, Pastor Nate continues in the book of Joshua, this week speaking about the testimony of Rahab. Rahab had the reputation of being a prostitute, so the people of Jericho did not expect anything significant from her, however, history remembers her as integral the the Israelite victory over Jericho. Although she did not at first believe in God as her savior, she believed in & respected His power. In that respect & deference to His authority, she was able to see her family spared from the fate of the rest of Jericho. In this way, Rahab is an example of failure not being our future. Although no one thought she would accomplish much, God had a different plan for her life. Rahab may have had a reputation, however, God decided to use her as an example that it’s never too late to begin again.
In the first installment of the “Begin Again” series, Pastor Nate Gagne speaks from the book of Joshua in which God promises Joshua the Israelite people will inherit the promised land, even after they had failed to for decades prior. Joshua had had a mentor in Moses & found himself discouraged once Moses died as he thought, if my hero couldn’t fulfill God’s promise, how can I? This is an extremely poignant scriptural reminder that although our heroes & examples may not live up to our expectations, we shouldn’t allow that to stop us from realizing God’s promises in our own lives. The Israelite people in the time of Moses were fearful, lacking in faith and were disobedient to God. For this reason, God held back the blessing of the promised land until His people had their hearts in the right place to receive His promise. These same deficiencies are what keep us from God’s promises today; we fear, we lack faith, we disobey. However, it’s never too late to begin again as Joshua does when, although it may have seemed irrational from an earthly standpoint, he decides to stand on God’s promise and make the changes his people need to make in order to fulfill the promise.
In this standalone sermon, Pastor Nate examines Saul’s motivation in the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 15, in which Saul disobeys God’s commands and in response gets his rank of king stripped from him. Saul then rebelled against God for years & made his life more difficult than if he’d repented for sinning against God. Rebellion causes us to act in ways we don’t actually want to act because we led ourselves into places God never intended for us to go through the making of decisions He never intended for us to have to make. We rebel because we seek freedom, but the rebellion in & of itself becomes its own form of bondage. Later in the life of Saul, he became a follower of Jesus, after being brought low by his rebellion. It’s never too late to stop rebelling against God & instead allow yourself to be compelled by His love as opposed to repelled by it.
In the fourth week of the “Advent” series, Pastor Andrew Zemianek speaks from Matthew chapter one, in which Joseph struggles with his place in God’s plan regarding Jesus’ birth. Joseph could have responded very differently to the circumstances he found himself in & our entire history would have been changed forever. Instead, Joseph chose to be obedient to God & to choose joy in the difficulties; because of his response, he got to be a part of the biggest miracle in human history. Deciding to follow Jesus doesn’t necessarily make life easier, it can actually be more difficult when you have to walk opposite to culture as Joseph did, however, if you all your pursuit of the joy that God’s salvation brings to overshadow the difficulties, you’ll find they often bring your greatest blessings in disguise.
In the third week of the “Advent” series, Pastor Nate reads from Matthew chapter two, attributing Jesus’ escape from Herod’s massacre of all the baby boys in Jerusalem to the gifts of the wise men. The wise men’s gifts, all but gold seeming foreign to us this day & age, would have been worth more than $1,000/lb each. The money that came from these gifts is likely what allowed Joseph & Mary, a poor carpenter & his wife, to relocate for a few years to hide Jesus from Herod’s wrath. Although Jesus had just barely drawn breath, God had already prepared a way for Him. The wise men didn’t come into these luxurious gifts overnight, nor did they decide on a whim to bestow them upon a baby born in a stable. Before Jesus was even born, before Herod had even threatened, God had known to begin providing the gifts & guidance to the wise men. The bible says that we are co-heirs with Christ; if God is willing to go to such lengths for Jesus, think of what He can & will do for you if you are faithful & believe it's possible.
In the second week of the “Advent” series, Pastor Nate reads from Luke chapter 2 in which the angel reveals the presence of Jesus to the shepherds who eventually went to greet the newborn king & tell of His coming. The shepherds were at first frightened, however, their willingness to overcome their fears led to their history-making moment of being the first to witness the greatest miracle and subsequent privilege of being the ones to carry the news throughout the surrounding area. The more we abandon our fears & submit to our calling, the more opportunities we will have to witness God’s miracles, sing His praises and carry word of His miraculous deeds throughout the world. Pressure dissipates and peace follows when we praise.
In the first week of the “Advent” series, Pastor Nate preaches about the Advent season, which is a month-long lead-up to Christmas in which churches of a certain tradition celebrate that Jesus came & that He is coming again. Although traditions differ, we are focusing on the hope that comes with the fact that Jesus has come & that He is coming back again. God knows where you’re coming from, where you are now & where you’re going. Although Mary didn’t seem like anyone special, God chose her to carry Jesus because of that fact. Mary allows her faith to be stronger than her fear & begins preparing for Jesus, although others will likely not believe and the circumstances go against everything in her culture. If Jesus could come from such humble beginnings, He could be that much more relatable to all of humanity, His sacrifice that much more believable, and His second coming that much more miraculous.