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.
In the last week of the “Sinkholes” series, Pastor Dan Dedrick speaks from the book of 2 Kings in which a widow learns about God’s provision even in the midst of her sinkhole when she changes her perspective, decides to participate in God’s plan and gets her priorities in order. It can be easy to focus on what we can’t see, where we aren’t going and what resources we don’t have. However, when we define our priorities based on God’s plan & choose to see our situation from the perspective of where He is bringing us rather than where we currently find ourselves, we can begin to recover from our sinkhole.
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.