September 2018

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

It is hard to believe we have come to the end of the Summer!  Cindy and I have spent the bulk of our time this Summer working on our house in Norfolk.  It is amazing how long it takes to do the things you have put off for 11 years.  When you decide to move, at least for us, you do all those “one day” projects. New counters and back splash in the kitchen, new tile in the bathroom, a fresh coat of paint for the front porch, replace the crumbling brick steps, and on and on the list goes.  But hey, the house is looking great!

How many of us have “one day” projects in our spiritual lives? One day I am going to sit down and really study the Book of Romans.  One day I am going to get committed to my daily devotions.  One day I am going to start to pray for my lost friends and family.  One day I am going to start being more vocal about my relationship with Jesus.  We all have so many many spiritual aspirations, but how do those want-to

wishes become daily realities?  In the Book of Proverbs, the wisest man to ever live put it this way, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  (27:17 ESV)

We are tentative to share with other people exactly where our hearts are, generally because most of us have been hurt or betrayed in the past. It is difficult to trust, but it is a biblical command to those who share faith in Jesus.  Acts 2:44 states, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”  (ESV)  One of those things they had in common was a commitment to the good will of their fellow followers of Jesus Christ, including genuine and sincere love and accountability.

The Christian life was always meant to be lived in community and meaningful relationship.  When we look in the Gospels we see Jesus and the 12 walking, eating, resting, retreating, and serving together, this is the true picture of disciple making.  It does not happen sitting by yourself in a recliner in your den at home, it happens in relationship.

 For me and the Elders it has been happening at Chick-fil-A at 7 AM on Saturday morning, reviewing scripture, getting honest with each other, and praying together.  I hope that you are all praying about being involved in biblical discipleship this year.  We will continue to hear from God’s Word about this aspect of the spiritual life of those who live by His example, and we will be challenged to participate as well.

On the second Sunday of this month we will be having a Family Meeting following the service.

 It will be great to hear about this Summer’s activities and how God is ministering in our body. Please plan to attend and share how you have seen God moving!

Also in September, there will be a deacon training weekend which will include the deacons’ wives.  On the 14th and 15th, we will be learning via DVD from Johnny Hunt.  The Deacon I Want to Be is a biblical and practical look at the ministry of the Deacon in the church.  We will have teaching, discussion and fellowship as we discuss the role of deacons here at Restoration Church. I look forward to sharing this time with our deacons and their wives.

Lastly, many of our families are going back to school this month.  Whether it is public, private or home school, all of our families need prayer.  Pray that God will be glorified in all of our educational settings, and that our students will grow in their walk with the Lord as they bear witness to their fellow students. It is my prayer that you all, students, teachers, and parents have a great year!

May your experience His Peace as we follow Him together!

Michael C. Smith

 

 

 

August 2018

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

WOW! Can you believe it is August! Cindy and I have been here a full six months! What a blessing you have been to us. God has blessed us with the privilege of being your lead ministry family, and we are so excited about what we can see God doing in the coming months and years.

This month has a lot to come. As you all know the Summer Carnival with Buckroe Pointe Townhome Apartments had to be rescheduled and is happening the first Saturday. I am still excited about the opportunity to be out showing God’s love to the community.

Vacation Bible School comes up on the 13th, and again it is all hands on deck. I am praying that our relationship with our community will mean some new children to hear the Gospel and connect with God’s family. I hope you have all prepared for VBS by attending one of Jenn’s training sessions. There are still some items that we are trying to collect or borrow, check out the back wall of the worship center for more opportunities to share in this great opportunity.

On August 25th, we will share in a great experience for personal and corporate spiritual growth in our church family. The Discipleship Blueprint Workshop with Bridge Church in Virginia Beach will be a banner day for all who participate. God has called us all to be disciples, and to make disciples. This workshop will help us all discover exactly what that is, and give us the tools to begin to more biblically obey this Great Commission from our Savior and our God. I hope you will all make every effort to attend
and to encourage others to do the same!

Sunday, August 5th will also be a day to remember for all of us who call Restoration Church home. Since we will have finished Your Church Experiencing God Together on the last Sunday in July, we are going to join in making a covenant with the Lord and with each other that reinforces the principles we have learned in this foundational and transformational study. Please be praying about your willingness to completely obey the Lord as the head of the church, seek His presence in every gathering of the church,
and that you will commit to encouraging and assisting in helping your brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in their relationship with Him.

This is going to be a tremendous month: two great outreach events, a focus on spiritual growth, and making a covenant together for God’s Glory to be a primary priority for our body. We cannot do all of this, or any of this without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Please be intentional in your intercession for the church this month. It is my prayer that we will have many testimonies of God’s power and movement during this final month of our summer. I hope you will join us in every possible way to witness to God’s great salvation and His power!

May God richly bless you as you serve for His glory!

Michael C. Smith

 

July 2018

 

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

This is a great month with so many great events and opportunities. As we celebrate the birth of this God given nation, we are going to pray for our country. Check out call2fall.com. We will set aside five minutes at the beginning of the service on July 1st, to pray for God’s wisdom in the leaders of our nation, healing for racial strife, and the general wellbeing of our country.

You have been hearing a lot about the outreach to Buckroe Pointe Apartments on the 21st from 3 to 6 PM with set up and clean up at least one hour before and after. We are going to provide a party trailer and games for the families of the community. There are sign-up streets in the office hallway for those who are planning to help. We will be manning the games, bounce houses, cotton candy, snow cones, and pop-corn, and Leslie and the youth will be doing face painting. What a great opportunity this will be to show God’s hospitality, goodness and love to our neighbors. Please plan to be a part of all God is going to do!

Remember to pray for Leslie and those who are playing volleyball on the beach on Sunday afternoon. This is a whole church activity, and all are welcome. I plan to join them on Sundays in August. I hope you will as well!
I am so excited for our participation in our Blackaby Study. Sunday evenings have been a wonderful time of sharing and discussing god’s hand in our church. If you have not joined us, books are still available, and the DVDs can be checked out. Even if you are not in the study, I invite you to join us on Sunday evening to participate in the discussions.

As I write this I have the smell of salt water and sand in my nose. I just returned from the Virginia Beach ocean front on Friday morning. I headed out about 6 AM to get in some time of recreation in God’s grand creation. The waves were knee to chest and clean. It was great. It is amazing how the complexion of the beach changes from 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM. the early morning is mostly local hard core surfers who really know what they are doing, getting in some fun before going to work. It is as much fun to watch these people and girls doing what they really love, as it is being in the water by myself. I alternate being in the water with some time in a beach chair reading scripture, it is a beautiful time. As the morning goes on, the surfers go to work; when it gets closer to 9:oo AM, the tourist begin to come out, parasailers go up in the sky, and the jet skis begin to cut up the water outside the break. But it is still a great place to be.

This morning, I was in the water waiting for a wave to get on, when a man paddles by me on his way back out after catching a wave. He looked me square in the face and said with a South American accent, “God is good!” I have to admit, I was caught a little off guard. I returned His praise with, “god is good!” Nestor was a much better surfer than I am a body boarder. He took wave after wave, each time praising God for the water, the sun, and all of creation. The joy this man had for the Lord and this gift of creation was inspiring. Nestor has lived in Virginia Beach for three years. He grew up in Brazil in a completely secular world. “I did not know God’s love or that it was possible for something like it to exist” he told me. When I asked him how he came to know Jesus, he explained that he came to the United States 13 years ago and landed in New Jersey. He was taken in by a Christian family that, “loved me into God’s family.” To say it was a joy to meet this brother is a drastic understatement. It was my divine appointment of the day. What a blessing.

This month we have many opportunities to be that loving presence of God to someone who may not know that God’s love indeed exists, and is available for them. Do no miss what God may want to do through you and Restoration Church this month. Be a part, ride the wave of God’s love into the community where God has placed us.

In the bond of Peace,
Michael C. Smith

 

June 2018

 

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

Summer is here!  Can you believe it, the temps are coming up, we have had our first named storm and the tourists are not far away!  We have quite a summer on tap for Restoration Church!  We are a few weeks into our study of Your Church Experiencing God Together, and we are hearing some great comments about the study and what we are learning about God’s Great Salvation and His desire for the Church.  The Student Ministry has had the first volleyball at Buckroe Beach, Cindy and I are looking forward to being out there very soon!

Saturday, July 21st will be our second outreach to Buckroe Pointe, when we will sponsor a Summer Carnival with a party trailer and games for the residents.  There will be two bounce house activities, a popcorn machine, cotton candy and snow cones.  I hope that many of you will participate by helping to man these activities.  There will be a sign up in the foyer starting

June 17th.  It will be a great day to impact lives by forming new relationships in the community.

August brings two vital events in the life of the church.  On the 13th through the 17th, we will have our Vacation Bible School.

We will learn from the Book of Daniel.  How relevant in a world that pressures everyone to compromise their values and beliefs for cultural correctness.  VBS is often the number one outreach in terms of member participation.  Jenn and the Children’s Ministry is in need of help.  Please pray and be obedient to the Lord’s leading as this opportunity approaches.  There are sign ups posted in the hallway outside the church office, sign up as soon as possible!

The weekend following VBS, on August 25th, there will be a great opportunity for Restoration Church.  We will be partnering with The Bridge Church, in Virginia Beach, for a one-day Disciple Making Conference.  Chris Swain of Replicate Ministry (replicate.org) will be facilitating an information and training opportunity for churches interested in launching biblical discipleship movements in their churches.  This is one of the principle aspects of church life that I am studying in my DMin, and something I strongly believe is needed in a high percentage of churches today.  Please save this date and plan to attend.

How exciting is it to know that God is moving in your church?  I hope you sense the same thing that I do.  If you are excited about what is going on, invite someone new to be your guest this coming Sunday!  We should be challenged when we read Romans 10:14 “…  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard?…”  If you are not confident in sharing the

Gospel, be confident in the experience that friend, neighbor, acquaintance will have when they are your guest at your church!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe summer of 2018!  I look forward to sharing some great moments with all of you!  Be blessed as you experience the presence of a living God, and the fellowship of your brothers and sisters in the Lord!

In the bond of Peace,

Michael C. Smith

 

May 2018

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

We have a very active month planned for May 2018. The first Sunday of the month we will welcome Bill Teate, Regional Director with Glad Tidings India. He is coming to update us on the ministry to the people of India and share a new challenge. Of course we all know that May is the month of Mother’s Day! I am sure we are all thankful to God for our mothers! What a blessing it is to be brought up by someone who sets the example of grace and compassion for their loved ones.

On the 18th we will be providing Breakfast-On-The-Go to Buckroe Pointe Apartments. We will be there at 7:00 AM to distribute breakfast sandwiches, and thanks to a generous donation, bottles of orange juice, to the children going to school and the adults leaving for work. I know that some of you have signed up to help purchase a number of sandwiches. Simply figure $2 per sandwich and drop your designated gift in the offering plate any time between now and the 18th.

Also, we will be starting a new series of messages as well as a Sunday night study for all adults and youth who want to participate. Your Church Experiencing God Together is the follow up study to Henry Blackaby’s world impacting study Experiencing God. This study helps churches come together around God’s purposes for the Church on a local level. We are all here for a reason, and God’s Word is clear on that reason! This study will help us all to be on the same page and promote a greater sense of unity for all who are willing to participate. The experience includes a daily devotional ($10) for all participants which will be given at the introductory session on May 20th at 6:30 PM. You can sign up at the table in the foyer anytime you are at church. Also, it looks like the beach volleyball will begin on the last Sunday of the month. Plan to spend your afternoons on the beach having some fun in the community!

God has called us to be salt and light in the world. We are hoping to be able to begin to form relationships with individuals and families in our community that will lead to life transformation and spiritual renewal. Please be praying for our church to be all that God has planned for it to be. And, pray about exactly how God would call you to participate, and that you would be obedient to that call. Remember, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV)

In the Bond of Peace,

Michael C. Smith

 

April 2018

Dear Friends and Fellow Believers,

As we consider the Easter season, we must spend time considering the character of our Savior Jesus Christ. Character is defined by one online dictionary as, “the mental and moral distinctive to an individual.” Jesus mentality and moral distinctives are unmatchable, but are also imputed to us through the Holy Spirit and reinforced by the scriptures. We are in the process of becoming like Christ as we are “conformed in to His image.”

In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist is quoted as having said, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” That is to say that my character will grow over time to become more like Christ’s, but it is not a given, it does not happen automatically. Character is developed through many different aspects of learning. One can learn academically, you can learn by your mistakes, you can learn my mentoring with someone, or by any other different model of learning.

Jesus character was described for us in Philippians 2:5-11, Romans 5:8, Galatians 2:20, and many, many other verses of the New Testament. Displayed equally in these verses is Christ love for humanity and His willingness to submit to God the Father’s will in sacrificing Himself for our salvation. In Galatians 2:20 we get a real glimpse of what I like to call the “life for life” exchange. The character of Christ is imparted to us as a faith transaction at salvation, but it is also worked out daily as we relinquish more and more of who we were to more and more of who he is making us.

Jesus character guided Him through some very difficult situations: request from His mother at the wedding feast of Canna, the three fold temptation in the wilderness, the abuses of the temple both at the beginning and the end of His ministry, and of course taking on the sins of the world on Calvary. There is debate over whether or not Jesus, as the Son of God could have sinned by choice or not. Some say that being human he could have chosen to sin, others say that as the divine Son of God it was impossible for Him to sin. I believe that as fully human, He could have chosen selfishly, but because of His divine character He did not. Character does not remove from us the ability to choose, but once developed, it does enable us to see the choice more clearly, and make the right choice.

I have been a student of leadership and motivation for a very long time. I have read books and articles, and seen online courses that discuss these topics at length. What is interesting to me is that in the more recent literature and course work, leadership is now being discussed in reference to character unlike I have seen before. I believe this is a response to the moral bankruptcy that is seen on Wall Street, in Government, and even in the high profile failures of Christian leaders during the last 15 years. Salvation by faith is a given scripturally, but development of character, especially the character of Christ, is not in any circumstances a given.

Jesus character was demonstrated. He lived His life as an example without boasting or bragging, He just did it. When the rubber met the road, when He stood to be tried, He was faithful. The privacy of the garden prayer was the fuel for the public display of obedient character in times of trial. Character is forged by small acts of selfless obedience, and fueled by an outward focus for God’s glory. Jesus walked the walk, because he talked the talk, not publicly, privately in prayer with His Father.

As we consider all that Easter presents to us this year, consider the character that Christ displayed, and the character on displayed in your life every day. Join us in celebrating what He did, so we could become like Him.

In the Bond of Peace

Michael C. Smith

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