God With Us // Matthew 1:18-25

“Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”? Today, Christmas is far removed from anything it was originally intended for, replaced with alternative stories and meanings. But why do we celebrate Christmas, and what are the implications for a people that God has revealed Himself to? Christmas declares the Kingdom of God is here.

Passages referenced in today’s podcast:

Matthew 1:18-25
Isaiah 7:14

Resource for Further Reading:
Unwrapping the First Christmas, by Dr. Michael Cooper (2019)

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Reflect on your Christmas and Holiday traditions. Is Christ typically “in”, “under”, or “above” these traditions?
  2. How will you choose the Kingdom of God this Christmas?
  3. How will you extend the Kingdom of God this Christmas?
God With Us // Matthew 1:18-25 // December 3, 2019

Listen or watch past teachings, learn more about Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, or connect with us at http://restorationlz.org.

Presents or Presence? // Luke 10:1-9

On this week’s podcast, we’re considering how we as followers of Jesus can live on mission for the Kingdom over Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Regardless of your plans this weekend, are you more focused on sharing presents or the presence of God with others?

Passages referenced in today’s podcast:

Luke 10:1-9

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Where is the Spirit leading you this holiday weekend? Who do you plan to see or visit with?
  2. How can you be intentional about being aware of Christ’s presence in your life and with those you interact with this week?
  3. What do you sense you should be praying for in those interactions?
Presents or Presence? // Luke 10:1-9 // November 26, 2019

Listen or watch past teachings, learn more about Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, or connect with us at http://restorationlz.org.

A Community that Multiplies // Acts 2:47; Acts 1:8

In the final message of our series on Defining Community, we examine the outcome of biblical community life: Growth! Healthy growth comes out of healthy community life that actively lives on mission in the world. We’ll also examine the common “threats to community” that undermine that mission and its solution: devoting our lives to Jesus Christ and bringing glory to God in all things.

Passages referenced in today’s podcast:

Acts 2:42-47
Acts 1:8
John 3:16-17
John 17:18

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do you see as being the biggest “threat to community” that you are most susceptible to?
  2. How might you take responsibility for disarming that “threat” and become a full contributor to the community?
A Community that Multiplies // Acts 2:47; Acts 1:8 // November 19, 2019

Listen or watch past teachings, learn more about Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, or connect with us at http://restorationlz.org.

A Community of Prayer // James 5:13-18; Acts 2:42-47

A New Testament church is a community of devoted followers of Jesus who pray – together! Not only is prayer a common practice for common life, but it’s also a means of powerful transformation and restoration. The Kingdom of God is made real and breaks into darkness when the community of the faithful come together and prays over hardships, illness, and sin. A community of prayer is not a community with good sentiments, but a community with real power.

Passages referenced in today’s podcast:

Acts 2:42-47
James 5:13-18
Matthew 6:7-13
1 Kings 17-18

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Do you have a story of a time when you have seen the power of prayer at work among followers of Jesus? Write it down in three or four sentences and plan to share it.
  2. How can we as a community continue to make prayer a central practice? What might you change or improve?
  3. Do you have a hardship, illness, or sin that needs to be shared or confessed? Who should you reach out to this week and ask for prayer?
A Community of Prayer // James 5:13-18; Acts 2:42-47 // November 12, 2019

Listen or watch past teachings, learn more about Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, or connect with us at http://restorationlz.org.

A Community that Feasts // Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The early church loved to eat together! But their feasts were more than after-service potlucks for the purpose of socializing. For them, table fellowship was a tangible expression of the gospel and the presence of Christ among them, rooted in the historical roots of God’s redemptive plan for all people. This week, we’re examining the practice of “breaking bread” together and why – in its purest form – is the central, unifying participatory act of creating and cultivating authentic fellowship and worship in a discipleship community.

Passages referenced in today’s podcast:

Acts 2:42-47
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Exodus 12
Luke 22:7-20
Revelation 19:19
Genesis 1:29-30

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is one new thing you learned today that you could share with someone else?
  2. How should understanding “table fellowship” reshape someone’s view of and participation in community?
  3. How could we as Restoration Church (or any community of disciples) grow in our practice of making the gospel visible, shared, and experienced at the table with others?
A Community that Feasts // Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 // November 5, 2019

Listen or watch past teachings, learn more about Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, or connect with us at http://restorationlz.org.

A Community as Fellowship // 1 John 1:1-7, Acts 2:42-47

(Updated with the correct audio.)

This week, we continue a closer look at the New Testament church and what it means to be a community devoted “to the fellowship” (Acts 2:42). What is biblical fellowship and what are the theological implications for sharing life with others? And more importantly, how does the gospel intersect with our understanding of this new life together in community as a means of restoring life with God and others?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How might your “common life” with God have implications on your “common life” with other believers?
  2. What are the common barriers to participating in the fellowship with the body of Christ?
  3. How can we as a church community become a model fellowship for others?
A Community as Fellowship // 1 John 1:1-7 // October 29, 2019

A Community of Disciples // Acts 2:42-47

As a next stop on our journey in defining biblical community, we’re closely examining the New Testament church. This week, we take a closer look at the first church in Acts 2 and what it means to be a community “devoted to the apostles’ teaching” and how we are continuing the practice at Restoration Church.

Additional resources mentioned in today’s podcast:
Ephesiology Podcast: Episode 25 – The State of the Church in America

A Community of Disciples // Acts 2:42-47 // October 22, 2019

Community as a Reflection of Humanity // Revelation 5:9-10

The church as a community is designed to be a reflection of God’s most treasured creation and possession – humanity. From every tribe, language, people, and nation, the church glorifies God when it reflects the diversity of humanity. It’s the promise of the eternal Kingdom and the present reality we seek to create in Christ Jesus as adopted children of God who belong in His community – the church.

Additional resources mentioned in today’s podcast:
Ephesiology Podcast: Episode 20, The Movement and Ethnic Diversity
Ephesiology Podcast: Episode 21, The Movement and Ethnic Diversity (Part 2)
White Awake by Daniel Hill

Community as a Reflection of Humanity // Revelation 5:9-10 // October 1, 2019

Community as Family // Mark 3:31-35

Community, like family, shapes our sense of belonging and identity. The story of God’s restorative work is through community that behaves as a tight-knit family: as the true family of God. So how do we learn to be an earthly family that inspires and shapes one another to find our belonging and identity in God’s eternal family? That’s the focus of this week’s podcast and part of our series, “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.

Community as Family // Mark 3:31-35 // September 24, 2019

Why Community? // Ephesians 1:9-10

This week on the podcast we’re answering the question: Why do I need a church community? And, is it possible to have a personal experience and relationship with God apart from others? As we’ll discover, community is rooted deep in God’s nature and is the means by which we experience the fullness of Him in our life. This is part of the series on “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.

Why Community? // Ephesians 1:9-10 // September 17, 2019