Creating Space in the Local Church for Those who Battle Addiction

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 Last week I read an article that both broke my heart and made me grateful. The statistics were released revealing the number of overdose deaths due to heroin in 2014. One thousand people lost their lives and their battle with addiction. That is a 33% rise in opioid-related deaths in two years. Although those statistics are startling the number of deaths due to heroin use is probably higher, as many times drug overdoses are not reportedly properly. I was grieved because of the lives lost. I was also thankful because there are people who are part of Restoration Road that are not one of those statistics. The reason they are alive and well today is because of the Gospel and the grace they received from a Gospel centered church.

Someone asked me last week “How do you create space in the local church for those who battle addiction”? I do not claim to be an expert on this subject but we have seen God do some awesome things in the life of those who battle addiction at Restoration Road Church. We are a young church but we aspire to be a community that shows grace to all, and sees God glorified through the liberation of many from the grips of addiction.

Here are some ways the Gospel has shaped us into a community that makes space for those who battle addiction. We are so grateful that God has made many who battle addiction our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Gospel teaches us to come as we are

Many people wrongly believe and teach that you have to clean up your act before you come to Jesus. The reality is we are only made clean by coming to Jesus. Unfortunately, many have mentally labeled those who battle addiction as unclean. Are those who have done or do drugs sinfully dirtier than all of us? Let him who is with out sin make that claim? The Gospel is not believe in Jesus and stop doing heroin and you will be saved! It is believe in Christ and God will transform your heart so you will no longer find your ultimate rest in heroin but in God.

The fist step to creating a culture where those who battle addiction feel welcomed and loved is having a “come as you are” mentality and heart. This should be the culture of every Gospel centered church.

The Gospel takes away the shame of the past

It is common for people to feel ashamed of their past. The truth be told, we all should be ashamed of our past if it was not for the Gospel, which relinquishes shame and guilt. Those who suffer from addiction often are ashamed to share there past. The Gospel causes us to not to judge people according to their past but to revel in the work of the cross that erases the guilt of our pasts.

We should be seeing God’s grace in the fact that a person is seeking God through attending church or showing interest in the things of God.

The Gospel gives hope for a future of sobriety

The ultimate way to see overdose deaths decline and a life of sobriety lived is a relationship with God and His people. People change one day at a time through a grace infused commitment to God and His people. This commitment is reciprocated by the Church in a ferocious devotion to everyone of it members.

I have personally seen friends who have formally been addicts live sober through there dedication to God and His Gospel. This is why all local churches need to create space for everyone to grow in a community fixed on grace.

The Gospel compels us to pray for allies in this war against addiction

Many pastors and those who are part of a church never have struggled with addiction. We need God to sovereignly send people who have a heart for addicts and maybe even have overcome addiction themselves to our local churches.

Pray that God would send former addicts who get the Gospel and want to share it, Men and Women who may run a program for sobriety or own a sober home, and other people who have connections to detoxes and half ways houses. These connections and people are vital to the mission. When people are in need of medical care and emotional care that the church sometimes cannot offer, it is important to   have people and a place to refer them to.

My prayer and hope is that the local church makes the cause of overcoming addiction their own. Let’s create space in the local church for those who battle addiction to find sobriety and life in the Gospel.

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Serving Restoration Road Full Time

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It is a privilege to be able to serve God’s church. In my opinion it is the most important institution on earth. The cross of Christ testifies to the churches value. God’s own Son bled to birth and redeem a church that would glorify Him and proclaim His Gospel in a broken world.

Since the day of my salvation God has placed a passion in my heart to serve Him and His church. I also believe that He has gifted me to encourage, motivate, and care for His people. God put a desire in me to see people follow Jesus and mature in the knowledge of the Gospel. This passion drives me and pushes me to live my life for the advancement of God’s kingdom.

As a young buck I wanted to jump right into full time ministry but God had other plans. I possessed the fire but lacked the knowledge, experience, and maturity needed for vocational ministry. God sanctified me and made me grow up through seventeen years of working a trade and running my own electrical business. I learned how to be patient, deal with adversity, trust God, and persevere.

During my years of bi-vocational ministry my wife and I would have conversations about me going into full time ministry. We would consistently come to place where we didn’t feel it was time yet. So we waited patiently, praying that God would reveal to us the right season to take that next step in commitment to God’s church.

Through much counsel and prayer we believe that now is the time. As of May 1st I will be entering ministry full time and giving myself fully to pastoring Restoration Road.

My focus will be on studying and proclaiming God’s word, caring for the people of Restoration Road, praying for its members, and declaring the Gospel to those who have not heard.

I am excited for this next step in Restoration Road’s life. We will be healthier and continue to grow in God’s grace. The future is bright; it will be filled with God’s glory, His faithfulness, and His love

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We are having a night service this Sunday (April 26th) at 6pm.

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Restoration Road,

We will be having a night service this Sunday 4/26 at 6pm instead of our usual morning service (one week only). Please spread the word. It is a great time to invite friends and family. It is going to be a great night of worship.

Have a great week!

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Why does the Resurrection of Jesus Matter?

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This past Sunday millions gathered to worship a Risen Savior. Crowds of people filled church seats to hear a sermon about the empty tomb. Believers abroad lifted their voices to sing songs with words echoing the truth that Jesus overcame the grave. Followers of Jesus reveled in the truth that Jesus lives.

Why does Jesus resurrection matter?

Jesus resurrection matters because it confirmed His identity. Jesus was not murdered because He was nice guy or gave to the poor. He was slaughtered because He claimed to be God. He claimed to be divine. The religious leaders off the day were infuriated by this claim and plotted His execution. The resurrection of Jesus was a confirmation that He indeed was and is God.

Jesus resurrection matters because it means our sins are really forgiven. In the biblical book of Romans it states that Jesus was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification”. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we would still be dead in our trespasses, awaiting the judgment of God. It is only through the miraculous resurrection of Christ that we can live pardoned and forgiven of our sins.

This is glorious news because the forgiveness of our sins leads to reconciliation with a Holy God.

Jesus resurrection matters because it means that we will experience eternal life. Death has no sting for all those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus. I recently attended a memorial service for a friend that passed away. He was a devout Christian and believer in the Gospel. The service did not have the taste of death but rather was filled with the aroma of life. Many of those who loved him talked about how they were confident that he was with God experiencing heaven. They wore smiles of their faces and each person’s voice resonated with hope. It is only because of the resurrection that we will receive life forever.

 The implications of the resurrection will endure through out eternity. The resurrection matters…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Invite”

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For some reason in our culture, people decide to make their annual visit to church around Easter time, to pay homage to the religious gods. This creates a unique opportunity to invite someone to Restoration Road to hear the Gospel of Jesus!

You will be surprised at how God uses theses visits to awaken people to the truth of His existence. Who is part of your life that needs “The Invite”?

Don’t be afraid to hear someone say “no” to coming to church. That is fine, our responsibility is not to make a person come to church but invite them to “Come and See”.

Realize that some people will say “yes”. You will be surprised at how many people actually want to be invited to a church where they already know somebody.

It is okay if the person doesn’t like church. Once gain, it is not our jobs to entertain people but rather call people to a situation where they can hear, experience, and be around the realities of the Gospel.

Some will absolutely love it. There will be cases when a person finds a church home and come backs for more!

God sovereignly puts people in our lives so that we can be lights and Gospel magnets. Let this Easter season be a time where you give that person or those people “The Invite”. Watch what God does…

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