People Of The Presence Week 9: Spiritual Gifts Pt. 4


Next Step Questions

1.  Our culture carries a suspicion of supernatural experiences. Do you approach these topics with openness? Suspicion? Fear? Confusion? Be honest.

2. Healing happens spiritually, emotionally, and physically as God brings us to greater wholeness. Where do you see the need for healing in your life or those around you? 

Practice: Pray For Healing

You may be a skeptic or a believer, but either way, we want to challenge you. In your City Group or with friends, boldly pray for healing and wholeness by the power of the Spirit.

People Of The Presence Week 8: Spiritual Gifts Part 3


Next Step Questions

1.  Read Ephesians 3: 16-19. How have you experienced more of God’s love together with other believers than you have simply on your own.

2. As you hear and read through the descriptions of the 5 gifts we discuss today, whichone grabs ahold of you and says – “that’s me?” How might you see this gift in action?

Practice: Looking For God At Work

Ministry isn’t just the Church-y stuff. Ministry is the mission of Jesus in the everyday stuff of life, where he’s already present and at work among us. This week, look for where you see God at work – and join him!everybody

“I Saw You At Church.” On Gathering In A Bright Room.

It’s funny where a story takes you. It’s true with books, it’s true with people, and it’s true with churches. The church we planted two and a half years ago looks very little like the one we envisioned, and has found us in a place we did not expect – and yet love. We entered into our partnership with the Lyric Theatre in December of 2017 after 11 months on Sunday nights in Grace Baptist Church. Grace was a classic, earlier 20th century church building that had a lot of charm, but swallowed us up. And the room we were moving into – the Lyric Community Room – was big, but cozy and way, way more bright.

Church on Sunday morning in a room with lots of windows and sunlight was a big shift. It wasn’t as if our services at Grace were shrouded in darkness, but evening services and some marginal lighting controls allowed us some flexibility. At the Lyric, we had two options: bright or brighter. Honestly, I didn’t think twice about it; in fact, I immediately loved the sunlight pouring into the room. I hadn’t been a part of a Church with a room this bright since the stained glass windows of my childhood. Somehow for me, the room felt really new, and yet harkened to some memory of Church that was very old – even being in a theatre community room.

Now a year and a half into our time at the Lyric, I’m beginning to see the shape of the community God is building at Restoration. Being downtown in the East End, there are immediately cultural barriers to those who may have a slight… well, nervousness, with life outside the suburbs. But for the most part, we’ve not experienced that. Instead, in both spoken and unspoken ways, I’ve noticed that one of the biggest cultural barriers some folks face walking through our doors is – you guessed it – a bright room.

And I know where they are coming from. In the decade prior to planting Restoration, I was a part of churches that, like most so many in modern America, had done everything in their power to make their room dark. The bright, stained glass sanctuaries with altars and pulpits had been replaced by dark, projection-oriented rooms with stages and _MG_0202spotlights. Architecture shifted over the last half of the 20th century, and more and more churches made the shift to looking less like a sanctuary and more like a theatre. Not only did this help illuminate the band and speaker on stage, it helped seekers remain at whatever level of anonymity they desired.

For some, seasons of anonymity are healthy. I’ve known several folks who, after struggles with divorce, infidelity, miscarriages, or other circumstances, go through seasons of not wanting to be seen. It’s enough just to show up, let alone get in a conversation with a stranger. Dark rooms allow you to sneak in during the second song and sneak out during the last – and never be seen. But there lies a problem when anonymity stops becoming the exception and becomes the norm. If Church is simply a service we attend on a weekly basis, attending anonymously barely makes a difference. But Church is people. Church is family.

Hear me clearly: I am not placing higher spiritual value on brighter rooms. I am not claiming to have reached a “purer” version of Church because we choose simplicity in our services instead of lights and fog machines and the like. Based upon our values in regards to budget, mission, and community, we’ve made intentional choices about what we will and will not do in our services. At heart, things like dark rooms and stages and bright lights are cultural. They are a part of one specific church culture among many. (It took me spending time outside of a typical white, evangelical church culture to understand this.) The same is true for those who wear suits and dresses to church every week. Is it wrong? No. It’s just cultural.

And while being in a bright room wasn’t a sort of grand, spiritualized plan for our church, I have noticed something beautiful about what gathering in a bright room does for me. You see, at heart, Church is the place where I am seen. I’m not talking about the well-curated version of myself that I put online. I’m talking about the “show-up-late, hair’s a mess, kids making me look like I’m going to explode” self. I’m talking about the “I almost didn’t come because I can barely hold back tears” self. I’m talking about the “I’m not sure if I even believe this stuff” self. And so on. The you that needs to be seen. And while a bright room doesn’t guarantee this will happen, it sure does make it a lot more possible. At first, it can be scary. But in the end? It’s liberating.

One of my favorite sights every week is watching the line of people walk forward to receive communion. In these lines? Frazzled moms, addicts clinging to a few weeks of recovery, doubters and skeptics, homeless folks, rich, poor, and everyone in between. Different stories, different spiritual journeys, united in the body and blood of Jesus among a messy yet beautiful, growing Church. And the best gift we can offer people as we worship is the opportunity not just to be present, but to be seen. Wherever God sends us, wherever and however we meet, that’s the beginning of love taking root.

People Of The Presence Week 7: Spiritual Gifts Pt. 2


Next Step Questions

1. How have you experienced the gifts of the Spirit through the lives of people around you? How did they encourage you?
2. Spiritual gifts are not proof of spiritual maturity. How we we ensure that love stays central when we are seeking God’s power and presence?

Practice: Discerning Your Gifts

Pick up one of the spiritual gift sheets available today, or see the corresponding blog on our website. Pray through the list of gifts, and talk it over with your friends and City Group. What do you sense God has gifted you with to serve the body?


What Are The Spiritual Gifts?

What Are The Spiritual Gifts?

Over the next 3 weeks, we’re unpacking the gifts of the Spirit found in Paul’s letters in the New Testament. These gifts are given as a means of building and equipping the Church to love one another like Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. From this verse, we find 3 foundational truths about the gifts. First, The Spirit and His gifts are for everybody. Not just the pastors, the staff, or the super-Christians. They are for everyone in Christ. Second, The Spirit is sovereign over His gifts. He gives them how he wants to give them, when he wants to give them. We don’t wield the Spirit like the force. When we are living in the life of the Giver, we naturally receive his gifts. And then finally, The Spirit gives gifts in order to build and equip the Church to love one another. In other words, the gifts are given not for our own benefit, but to empower us to love one another well and build one another up. They help us love like Jesus!

Below you’re find a list of the gifts found in the New Testament. We are encouraging our Restoration family to pray over this list, talk it through with friends or in City Group, and to discern how God may be gifting you. If you have any questions, let us know here!

Spiritual Gifts

Motivation Gifts: Romans 12:6-8

Prophecy: Discerning and speaking God’s will for those in the community.

Serving: Meeting practical, tangible needs for the community.

Teaching: Making God’s Word clear and applicable to the community.

Encouragement: Speaking life and courage into the lives of the community.

Giving: Using personal abundance to meet the material needs of the community.

Leadership: Giving direction and organization to the mission of the community.

Mercy: Acting with compassion towards the broken and hurting in the community.

Ministry (Equipping Gifts) Ephesians 4:11-12

Apostle: Future-minded leadership that spurs the mission outside the Church.

Prophet: Discerning God’s will and leading the Church towards obedience

Evangelist: Passionate pursuit to draw in and see people come to faith in Christ.

Shepherd: Caring for the spiritual needs and leading people towards maturity.

Teacher: Leading God’s people through training and discipleship in the Scriptures.

Manifestation Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

Wisdom: Speaking clarity and direction through discerning the Spirit’s leadership.

Knowledge: Speaking into circumstances with a spiritual perspective beyond common understanding.

Discernment: Seeing through the unseen spiritual realities to determine what is and is not a work of God.

Faith: Believing and spurring on the community to expect God’s supernatural work.

Miracles: The supernatural expression of God’s in-breaking, miraculous power to transform.

Healing: The supernatural expression of physical, emotional, and/or spiritual wholeness.

Tongues: The supernatural, personal prayer language expressed in communion with God.

Interpretation: The supernatural discernment of tongues for the sake of the greater community.   

(“Motivation, Ministry, Manifestation” Based on Jon Tyson’s “Vision For The Gifts”, City Collective, 2015)


People Of The Presence Week 6: Spiritual Gifts Part 1


Next Step Questions

1. The Gifts are given for “the common good.” How have you experienced the Spirit through the ministry of someone else’s gifts in serving and encouraging you?

2. The New Testament calls the Church the Body of Christ, with every member playing a part. What would the Church be like if everyone – even you – was operating in their Spiritual gifts?

Practice: Practicing Presence

This summer, we’re sharing some practices together that will shape us as a People of The Presence. Pick up a Practicing Presence Handout in the lobby for a reading plan, communal prayer, and a weekly practice!

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People Of The Presence Week 5: Abiding In The Spirit


Next Step Questions

1. When you look in and around you, what fruit of the Spirit is easiest for you to see and experience in your own life?
2. As you examine your own life, where do you find yourself living in the flesh instead of the Spirit? What would surrender to the Spirit look like in this area of life?

Practice: Practicing Presence

This summer, we’re sharing some practices together that will shape us as a People of The Presence. Pick up a Practicing Presence Handout in the lobby for a reading plan, communal prayer, and a weekly practice!

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People Of The Presence Week 4: Hearing The Spirit’s Voice


Next Step Questions

1. When is the last time you felt like you heard God speak to you? How did you know? What did you do?

2. God’s not looking to speak to us like task-oriented servants, but like friends. How does experiencing God’s presence as friendship shift your perception of time with Him?

Practice: Silence And Solitude

It’s never a matter of if God is speaking – He is! But are we listening? This week, spend intentional time alone, in stillness, away from distractions like phones and entertainment. Speak less, listen more. Ask God to speak to you and make His presence known.

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People Of The Presence Week 3: Who Is The Holy Spirit?


Next Step Questions

1. The Holy Spirit is not our accuser, He is our Advocate. How does this reshape the way we see God bringing transformation in our lives?

2. The Spirit’s primary work in our lives is making us more like Jesus. How does this framework shift the way we understand God’s activity in our lives?

Practice: Practicing Presence

This summer, we’re sharing some practices together that will shape us as a People of The Presence. Pick up a Practicing Presence Handout in the lobby for a reading plan, communal prayer, and a weekly practice!

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People Of The Presence Week 2: Identity & Authority


Next Step Questions

1. Sin at its core is fed by the lie that we have to hustle for something we already have.  How does this help us understand our own distorted pursuits of identity?

2. Identity and authority aren’t built or bought, they are bestowed.  How does this truth differ from our culture’s beliefs and pursuits of identity and authority?

Practice: Practicing Presence

This summer, we’re sharing some practices together that will shape us as a People of The Presence. Pick up a Practicing Presence Handout in the lobby for a reading plan, communal prayer, and a weekly practice!

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