An Open Letter to Restoration Road Church on the eve of my Sabbatical

2017-05-15T15:56:49+00:00 By |Uncategorized|

Brothers and Sisters, I love our church.  God has planted and grown something very special in this place.  This is not the result of dumb luck or a detailed strategy.  It is purely the result of the grace of God.  I feel blessed to be a part of this church and humbled to be one of its leaders. Near the end of May, my family and I will begin an extended Sabbatical in accordance with our By-laws and under the direction of our elders.  The Sabbatical will last approximately three months.  The concept of a Sabbatical is biblical, but the practice is rather exceptional.  Statistically, an estimated 5% of all churches offer their pastors Sabbaticals, which likely contributes to the fact that 50% of ministers starting out only last 5 years before quitting.  In fact, only 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some [...]

WE NEED A PASTOR | Vision pt.3

2017-05-04T22:28:13+00:00 By |Uncategorized|

How many pastors does one church need? Before I became a pastor I often wondered what exactly a pastor did with all of his time.  Did he sit and study the Bible for 40 hours a week? Did he go from home to home checking in on each family in his church?  Did he knock on every door in his neighborhood or spend every minute evangelizing at coffee shops? Did he wander in the wilderness communing with God in prayer for days on end?  Or did he hang out with other pastors and talk about ministry versus actually do any?  This kind of perception can make it very difficult to justify hiring any pastor, let alone several for a given church. I never wanted to a full-time pastor.  At the time God called me to plant a church, I was a high school teacher.  Because I believed that the job of a [...]

MINISTRY: WHAT WE DO | VISION Pt.2

2017-04-10T16:49:01+00:00 By |Uncategorized|

The church is more than a place where Christians just happen to hang out on Sundays. It is more than a once-a-week event, more than a religious outing, more than a Christian club. The church was not an addendum to God’s plan for salvation, in fact, we believe it is central to it. Jesus did not die for a person, he died for a church—a specific group of people—through whom he would continue to restore the world with the gospel. The church is the fellowship of believers, the family of God (a family of families), where the presence of God’s Spirit chiefly dwells, and where the wisdom of God is uniquely made manifest. Restoration Road church is not the only expression of God’s family. The church is both universal and local, both invisible and visible, both spiritual and physical. According to the Bible, the universal, invisible, and spiritual church generally refers [...]

The Road Church Network | Redefining and Renaming

2014-06-18T06:26:58+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

WHY WE PLANT CHURCHES  We believe our mission is to live out the Great Commandment as we fulfill the Great Commission.  Through the gospel, Jesus gathers us into a family of families and then sends us on mission into the world. Specifically, we believe we are called to make disciples and plant churches. This commitment requires the conviction that the Great Commission can be accomplished and will be completed.  Furthermore, it requires that pastors and churches view themselves not as the end of the mission, but as a means to mobilize and equip people for mission through the local church. As God saves us by the power of the gospel, believers are gathered into a FAMILY where we grow in the gospel together—taking it deeper into our own hearts as we share it in one another’s lives.  But our family is not only a collection of maturing brothers and sisters who love one another; we [...]

Monday Morning Preacher: The Tomb is Empty…still

2012-04-09T09:50:30+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

I was humbled and honored to proclaim the same message that has been preached since the first Easter in AD33: Jesus alive, Jesus killed, Jesus alive again forevermore!  For over 2,000 years, the story has not changed. Jesus came alive and the tomb is still empty. It will be empty tomorrow too. The sermon I preached, challenges everyone to ask what "day" they live life on. Those who do not believe the gospel can't and won't get past Friday.  This is a day in history that everyone agrees happened--even the atheists and the Muslims. This is the day that an innocent man (one who loved, served, and blessed) from Nazareth was falsely accused, illegally tried, and brutally murdered. Even if we stop at those historical facts, we can all agree, that this is a clear evidence that something is "wrong" with the world (i.e. mankind).  But many of those who say they believe [...]

A Wonderfully Bad Saturday

2012-04-07T09:03:58+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

Friday brought shock.  Saturday brought sadness.  I have tried hard to imagine what Jesus' disciples must have felt on Saturday morning.  It would have been the Sabbath, so they didn't have any work to keep them busy or distract them from the disillusionment they felt. In other words, they had a lot of time to be by themselves, or with on another, in sorrowful disbelief. Though Jesus had been fairly explicit (on several occasions) about what would happen to Him, it is clear that they were either not listening or not believing--perhaps a little of both.  And while each individual disciple ran through the events of the previous night in their mind, wondering what they could have done to change things, they all probably ended up at the same place--What just happened?  How do we go from everything right to everything wrong in less than 24 hours? They had left everything [...]

A Terribly Good Friday

2012-04-06T08:50:56+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

For his anger is for a moment, and his favor for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30.5) As I tucked my kids into bed last night, I reminded them that this (Thursday) was the night that Jesus ate his final meal with his friends before he would be arrested and murdered.  I have tried to imagine what Jesus was feeling knowing that within hours, one "friend" would betray him, one friend reject him, and everyone else would run and hide. His own people would falsely accuse him, his religious leaders illegally try him, and his government would refuse to defend him.  What could he possibly have felt? I seems like I have the tendency to (wrongly) believe that, because he was without sin, somehow that makes him without emotion.  If he is fully human, than we know that cannot be [...]

Monday Morning Preacher: Judges 2.7-11

2012-03-26T22:39:51+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

Never satisfied.  I wonder if I will always feel that way about my sermons.  I remember reading that Charles Spurgeon, regularly wept after sermons out of fear of having dishonored the Lord unintentionally.  If the "Prince of Preachers" struggled with sermon contentment, then I can expect this "pauper of preachers" to live in the same tension.  Preaching is hard and pastors are their worst critics.  Unlike many occupations, results are not always immediate--fruit takes time to grow.  More often than not, I feel like preaching is akin to tilling hardened soil with a broken tool. Perhaps this is God's way of making preachers desperate for His Spirit and assuring He gets the glory whether they are or not.  The last sermon I preached was Judges 2.7-11, title, Generational Unfaithfulness. This weekly blog is where I reflect on the sermon, here are the points that I would want to repeat, reject, [...]

Church Planting Lesson #30: Every Jesus has his Judas, every Paul his Demas

2012-03-20T14:17:57+00:00 By |Uncategorized|

I have been reading a book titled Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor:  The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson. The book is written by his son, and well-known scholar, D.A. Carson.  Essentially, the book is a biography describing the ministry of a faithful "small town" pastor. He never speaks at a conference, never writes a book, never has thousands of "fans", never leads a mega church, and really never realizes his full vision. It is the story of an "ordinary pastor."  It is a fascinating read, containing various journal entries and excerpts from letters Tom Carson wrote, as well as commentary by his son.  It is also a sobering read, especially for pastors, as it presents an honest and realistic picture of the various discouragements that come with being a pastor. In one journal entry, during a particularly dark season of  ministry where Tom experienced deep discouragement from relationships in [...]

Monday Morning Preacher: Judges 1.1-2.6

2012-03-19T10:34:50+00:00 By |Re:Sermon, Uncategorized|

The second sermon in our series on Judges, titled {UN}faithfulness, centers on the progressive, but deliberate, disobedience of God's people.  The video can be found here.  The passage contains a lot of verses, 41 to be exact.  It is not often we read that many verses in a service, but whenever I do, there is deep level of satisfaction as the my finite words are drowned out by the eternal words of Scripture.  It reminds me of Paul's charge to a young pastor named Timothy was to "devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture" (1Tim 4.13). We would do well to do this more. Not only was the text long, it was complicated. As a purely historical narrative, Judges would make a lot more sense if it started in chapter 2. The first chapter is strange, containing three seemingly unrelated vignettes including an assassination, a romance, and an operation of Israel’s "Seal [...]