RCC…In The Library

Restoration City Church | 06.30.19

Life as a portable church can get really interesting at times. Like when you get a call at the end of the day on Wednesday letting you know that all the AC in the middle school you meet in has been turned off for a system upgrade and no one knows how long all of this is going to take. That’s where we were this time last week. And then we found out on Thursday that the library had AC and decided to meet there as a stopgap while we got a better sense of what our overall plan was going to look like for the summer.

In all honesty, my prayer going into last Sunday was something along the lines of, “Dear God, please help this not be a total disaster!”

Which turns out to have been way too small of a prayer. Not only was Sunday not a disaster, it was a really good day in the life of Restoration City. Over the course of the morning, we started to realize we not only had a workable solution for as long as we are out of the theater (BTW, we will be adding more chairs this Sunday!) but also that God is using this season to do some pretty significant things in our church.

Here’s some of what I see Him doing and how I’m praying for this season:

Church is NOT an event we attend. It is a community we join.

We say that all the time but there’s something about breaking out of our normal routines that drives the point home. If nothing else, everyone walked into the library on Sunday without “their normal seat.” As a result, many of us, even those who have been attending RCC for a long time, met new people.

I’m praying that our temporary location makes us even more welcoming for new people and even more connected to each other as a community.

Worship is NOT something we listen to. It is something we participate in.

Standing really close to one another in a room filled with natural light really seemed to drive this home. There were so many moments on Sunday when I couldn’t tell who was louder – the band in front of me or the congregation behind me. As simple as it sounds, hearing one another sing is a massive spiritual encouragement.

I’m praying that our temporary location intensifies our expectation for and participation in corporate worship.

Adversity is NOT something we should fear. It is something God uses.

We aren’t shrinking back into survival mode for the summer. We’re trusting that God is going to do something incredible. He’s already doing that through the registration for our Summer Sessions and we’re trusting Him to add a significant number of new volunteers to our team through the Help Wanted initiative we’re going to be introducing this Sunday.

I’m praying that we add at least 25 new volunteers who are willing to serve regularly in one of our six internal team while we are meeting in a temporary location.

Ultimately, I’m praying we carry all of these things back to the theater with us when the AC upgrade in complete, whether that’s in 2 weeks or 2 months. God is doing some great things in our church right now and I’m so excited to see what He has in store for us this summer!

Riding The Bus To Preach

IMG_2690I ride the bus to church every Sunday and absolutely love it.  As strange as it may sound, it’s become a small but significant part of my sermon prep.  Those ten minutes on the bus remind me of my goal for the morning: to show people how the eternal truths of God’s Word transform our day to day lives in such a way that we are inspired to worship Jesus.

A sermon is so much more than a Bible study.  It can’t ever be less but it should be so much more.  The call of the preacher isn’t simply to present accurate information about the Bible or God.  It’s not enough to say, “here’s what this passage means.”  Don’t get me wrong (or call me a heretic), that foundation is indispensable.

But as preachers we must build two more layers on that foundation: application and worship.  Show people how the glorious truths of the Bible cause them to live with more joy on a Monday afternoon.  Show people how the gospel gives hope even when hospice has been called.  Show people how Jesus wants to use them in His plan to redeem and restore the world while they work as a cashier in a retail store.  And do it all in a way that makes Jesus, not us, the center and hero of the story.  The goal of a sermon isn’t life management tips.  It’s worship.  It’s people walking out so enthralled by Jesus, the simple beauty of the gospel and the hope we have that everything changes for them.

So, I love my friends on the bus.  They’re often tired, coming off the night shift or heading in to work the weekend.  Sometimes they’re headed to the airport.  Sometimes they’re brimming with hope but oftentimes they’re in need of hope.  They’re living life to the best of their ability.  Probably not doing as well as they would like or as bad as they fear.  And Jesus has something for each of them.

The great privilege of a preacher is connecting God’s Word to our world.