An Important Announcement

From the Restoration Church Management Team

April 7, 2019

Dear Restoration Church,

In the second half of 2016, Restoration’s co­founders Landon Myers and Jon Wolfinger recruited us to participate on the Management Team of the church. The stated purpose of this team has been “to oversee the health and development of Restoration Church until the time in which qualified and effective local elders can be placed.” A church plant Management Team can provide wisdom, counsel, and accountability in the early days of a church until those things can be provided long­term by local leaders. It has been a joy to see how God has worked so powerfully in Restoration in such a short period of time.

From the beginning of Restoration, we were well aware of both the difficulty and beauty of having two Lead Pastors. It’s difficult because it’s more challenging to combine two visions into one, but it’s also beautiful because the different gifts, skills, and temperaments can wonderfully complement each other.

Over the last few years, we’ve helped Jon and Landon more clearly define their roles and work through the natural challenges that come with co­leadership. Over the last year, these challenges began to increase in frequency and intensity. Then, in mid­February, Landon and Jon concluded that it would be best for them and the church if their co­leadership came to an end. They did not envision a restructure that would be effective, and both wanted to serve as Lead Pastor for the future. Thus, they turned to the Management Team and asked us to determine the best course of action. Jon and Landon were in full agreement that the Management Team should decide which of them should continue as Lead Pastor.

After much praying, discussing, and getting input from staff and others in Restoration, we have unanimously determined that Landon Myers will be the Lead Pastor of Restoration going forward. We believe his gifts and vision are best positioned to continue and extend the significant gospel impact of Restoration in Prescott.

With heavy hearts and tremendous gratitude for his service, we are releasing Jon Wolfinger from his pastoral leadership and employment at Restoration. Out of love and appreciation for Jon and Karen, we are providing what we believe is a generous severance package that will provide them time and space to seek God’s next assignment for them. We believe Jon is godly, qualified, and skilled as a pastor and his future is bright.

While this situation may come as a surprise to you now, the situation isn’t a shocking one when one considers the challenges of co­leadership and even early church history (see Acts 15:39­41, where Paul and Barnabas separate after “a sharp disagreement”). God often uses these challenges to extend his mission, and we pray that he will do that here. At the same time, we know that the Enemy would like to use a situation like this to sow division and discord. He would be thrilled to see the people of Restoration take sides, carry gossip, and assume the worst about each other. Please resist these temptations.

The management team believes that it’s in the best interest of everyone involved for the transition to happen quickly. Therefore, since Jon and Karen both want God's best for Restoration Church, they have 1 determined that the best way to enable that is for this Sunday, April 7th to be their final Sunday. We hope that when you see or contact them you will communicate your appreciation and affection for their ministry.

We pray that God will continue to use Restoration in Prescott to help broken stories be made beautiful. With love in Christ,

Restoration Church Management Team

Chuck Bomar, Colossae Church (Portland, OR)

Chris Gonzalez, Missio Dei Communities (Tempe, AZ)

Ron Merrell, Heights Church (Prescott, AZ)

Luke Simmons, Redemption Church Gateway (Queen Creek, AZ)

Justin Unger, Likewise Worship Collective (Huntington Beach, CA)

Q & A

What were the specific challenges that Jon and Landon were having with each other?

We do not believe it’s essential for everyone to know the specifics. There were a combination of significant reasons that Jon and Landon did not feel they could continue to co­lead­pastor together. The specifics should appropriately remain between them, their families, and the Management Team.

Are we sure that this is necessary?

Yes, we are. This is not the path we hoped for when it began, and efforts have been made to see if there was another way forward. However, we are confident that this is best.

Did the management team talk with anyone from Restoration in making this decision?

Yes. Jon and Landon supplied us with names of some people who they felt could give us some insight. These meetings were helpful and important.

This situation seems to indicate a need for local elders. Is there a plan to establish an elder board soon?

We have always viewed the Management Team as a temporary step toward establishing local elders. We are hopeful that the transition to local eldership is coming soon, and will be working with Landon to establish the right leaders in the right time.

Does this change also mean there will be a change in vision?

No. The vision has been consistent and remains the same: Becoming human the way we were made to be. We believe that Landon is gifted and called to continue this vision at Restoration. 2

A Letter from Jon Wolfinger

Restoration Church,

It’s with great grief and gratitude that I say my goodbyes to pastoral ministry at this church today.

In 2011, my wife and I stepped out in faith to plant the gospel in Prescott. We saw church as “a people who, and not a place where” and desired to live our lives together in community as Jesus makes our brokenness beautiful. Church, you are the answer to our prayers. God has been so faithful to us.

While certainly difficult at times, these 3 years of pastoring in the midst of Restoration Church have been the most joyous journey in the 15 years I’ve been in vocational ministry. The stories of healing, wholeness and finding life and hope in Jesus—The people of God following Him together in everyday life—The beauty of relationship as we’ve walked through various trials and celebrations—The opportunity to see my oldest son come to faith and baptize him with you all as witnesses—This has been worth it all. It has been a joy, honor and privilege to be one of your pastors. 

My hope, prayer, and dream was to pastor this church for the rest of my life, but as Proverbs says “A man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” In the midst of all the tension, both Landon and I entrusted ourselves and you to the process with the management team, and I am choosing to trust God with the outcome they havedecided. I am grateful for the generosity of both the management team, and you, to be able to take time to rest, reflect and seek God’s heart for what’s best next.

This week, I’ve been reminded of a quote from Derek Kidner’s commentary on Ecclessiastes: “The unpredictability of life clips the wings of our self sufficiency.” This is certainly the case as we cling to Jesus with the uncertainty of life in this season. In the midst of it all, for both my family and for you, I believe that God is faithful, God is good, God is with us, and God is for us. The gospel is still really good news for us all.

I have been reflecting on what Paul says to the church in Philippi as it portrays exactly how we believe and feel going into this next season:

Philippians 1:3-11 -  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.  For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Thank you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Many thanks & much love, Jon, Karen + Lincoln, Elliot and Theo

Resources for Lent

The season of Lent begins on March 6th, 2019. For those unfamiliar with the season, or thinking it is something observed only within the Catholic church, we wanted to provide some resources to help you and your community follow Jesus together.

The word “lent” simply means “spring season” where the days grow longer, and it is a time in the Christian calendar that marks the 40 days before Easter. Where Advent in the Christmas season is a time of hope, joy, peace and love, Lent is a time that is meant to prepare our hearts and lives through confession, repentance, self denial that culminates in the celebration of Easter.

Lent is in no way mandatory or required for Christians, but can be a helpful time to intentionally evaluate our lives, invite Christ to work, and lead us toward becoming human the way we were created to be.

We will have an 8 week series entitled “The Final Days of Jesus” that will lead us through Holy week (the last week of Jesus life) up to Easter. There is a free devotional from Crossway that goes with the series that can be found here.

If you choose to observe Lent in 2019, or simply would like to learn more, we wanted to provide you with some additional resources:

A Prayer for Lent - Pastor Scotty Smith

Why Bother with Lent? - Chuck Colson

Lent Guide (free) - The Village Church

Lenten Devotionals (free) - Tim Keller and Redeemer Church

Journey to the Cross - Lent Devotional from Will Walker and Kendall Haug

Additional Lent Resources - Chuck Degroat

For families: See attached images for a reading plan this Lenten season through the Jesus Storybook Bible.

We pray these are helpful for you as your journey with Jesus this season.

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Advent: Love

"So how did it happen that this birth, this Jesus birth managed to set so many of us back on our heels in astonishment and gratitude and wonder? And continues to do so century after century, at least at this time of year? The brief answer is that this wasn’t just any birth. The baby’s parents and first witnesses were convinced that God was entering human history in human form. Their conviction was confirmed in angel and Magi and shepherds visitations; eventually an extraordinary life came into being before their eyes, right in their neighborhood. More and more people became convinced. Men, women, and children from all over the world continue to be convinced right up to the present moment.”

“Birth, every human birth, is an occasion for local wonder. In Jesus’ birth the wonder is extrapolated across the screen of all creation and all history as a God-birth. ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us’—moved into the neighborhood, so to speak. Incarnation, in-flesh-ment, God in human form in Jesus entering our history: this is what started Christmas. This is what keeps Christmas going.”

Eugene Peterson

Advent: Peace

“Keep your eyes on the Prince of Peace, the one who doesn’t cling to his divine power; the one who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights and rule with great power; the one who says, ‘Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness’ (see Matt. 5:3–11); the one who touches the lame, the crippled, and the blind; the one who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one who dies alone, rejected and despised. Keep your eyes on him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and who is rejected with the rejected. He is the source of all peace.” Henri Nouwen

Advent Resources

With the Advent season upon us, there is endless opportunity for you and your family to celebrate the coming of Christ, and long for His return. Advent places us in that tension. We want to walk through it well. 

Below are resources you can pick from depending on your current season and schedule. We pray these help you and your community as you journey together with Jesus.

History of Advent (for those that want background)

Paul Tripp on Advent (short, sweet, and #thatmustache)

Jesus Storybook Bible reading plan for Advent (good for families)

Good News of Great Joy (daily devotional for adults)

Advent Guide for Families and Kids (great for those with little ones)

Advent Jesse Tree Idea (for those that need creative help)

Advent Guide from the Village Church (detailed, in depth, really good, for the ambitious.)

Not Your Average Christmas Music (Christmas playlist, with modern, fun arrangements)

 

 

Updated Prayers

Here are our latest prayers for our gatherings:

Prayer of Confession:

Father God,

We confess our sin to you.
We have not loved you with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have strayed from Your story to idols.
We have fallen short, and humbly repent.

We thank you that in Jesus we find forgiveness and freedom.
Make us human the way you have created us to be. 
In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Corporate Prayer:

Our Father in Heaven,
We thank you for this time to gather and be formed by Your story. May Jesus be our center, our song, our everything. Help our community to show the hope of and love from Jesus as we look to carry your name into all of life. Take our brokenness and make it beautiful. We ask this for your glory and the good of those around us. Amen.

#mondaymatters - Scripture and Prayer

As we talked about in yesterday's gathering, if we are to imitate God, we must know God. We get to know God as we pray and read His word in community. A couple of the tools covered were "Lectio Divina" and "The Daily Examen" 

Here is a quick recap of both:

Lectio Divina is an approach (not the only, but a helpful one) to reading scripture that focuses on slowing down, meditating on the truth of scripture, letting it sink into our hearts and minds. The process is:

Reading: Bible as Story/Light/Truth - Slowly, attentively
Meditation: Think/Chew/Ask Questions/Read again
Pray: Thank/Confess/Ask
Contemplation: Just Be. Commit. Enjoy

The Prayer of Examen is an aspect of prayer that causes us to remember the presence of God, cultivate gratitude, confess our sin, and grow in awareness of God and His work. The typical pattern of the prayer is:

Recall - The presence of God throughout the day (pause)
Review - Think and pray through the day with Gratitude (remember)
Renew - Remind your heart and mind with truth and the promises of scripture (preach to yourself)
Look Forward - Anticipate the coming day. (Pray for help and wisdom)

#mondaymatters - The Practice of Confession

As we wrapped up our series on confession, Pastor Landon gave the 7 "A's" of confession that were adapted from Ken Sande's book "The Peacemaker" 

They are:

1. Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
2. Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
4. Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
5. Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
6. Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
7. Ask for forgiveness

To encourage us in this endeavor, this song from The Brilliance points us to the hope we have in Jesus:

Prayer of Confession

"Our Father in heaven, when we see Your story, Your design, and Your intent, we recognize that we have fallen short. We have missed the mark. We have sinned in what we have done, and in what we have left undone. We have pursued idols over You. We have sought control instead of trusting You. We have not reflected Your love to the world. 


We confess our sin. We humbly repent. Let us feel the weight of our foolishness and see the depths of your grace. We thank you for forgiving us by the mercy of Jesus. Take our brokenness and make it beautiful. 


We ask for Your Spirit’s help to walk in your ways and truth that we might experience life as you intended, become human the way we were made to be, and reflect Your love to the world well.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

#mondaymatters - You Can Change

From author Tim Chester:

"In my book You Can Change I identified four liberating truths about God. I suggested that underlying  all our sinful behavior and negative emotions is a failure to believe one of these truths at a functional level. Embracing, believing, trusting, delighting in the appropriate liberating truth therefore has the power to set us free from sin – though we need to recognize that this typically involves a daily struggle – the fight of faith. These four liberating truths offer a great diagnostic tool for addressing sin in our lives and in the lives of others. The four truths are:

1. God is great – so we don’t have to be in control

2. God is glorious – so we don’t have to fear others

3. God is good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere

4. God is gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves"

You can find You Can Change for purchase here.

#mondaymatters Knowledge vs. Knowing

As we talked about at the gathering, it is all too easy to mistake knowledge about God for actually knowing God. When we get facts or more information, it always presents a fork in the road; will we become more self righteous and prideful, or more loving and humble? Self awareness is critical. Below is a list of how Jesus moves us by the Spirit to be more like Him in all of life. 

Knowing God Moves us From:

Isolation to Community

1st Peter 2:9-10 -

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Judging to Compassion

Psalm 103:13-14

"As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust."

Elevating (self) to Humility

Philippians 2:3-5

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus"

Spouting Information to Listening

James 1:19

"My beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger"

Demanding to Serving

1 Peter 4:8-11

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ."

Camping to Collaborating

Ephesians 4:1-3

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Deconstructing to Restoring

Romans 12:9-13

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."

Assuming - Asking

1 John 4:7

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."

#mondaymatters - True Story Symbols

As we discussed yesterday at our gathering, to see who God is, what must look at the entirety of the story. To better understand the story of scripture, our friends at Missio Dei Communities developed the "True Story Symbols" as a helpful tool to better know, understand, and live out scripture.

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They published a helpful summary of what scripture is that is worthy of our reading and discussing together in community. Find it here

#mondaymatters - Life as the Beloved

Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: 'May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.' But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death..

You have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: 'These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God's eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief. - Henry Nouwen

We live this together. We practice this in community. We carry the name into all of life as we live FROM the love God has shown us in Jesus.

 

#mondaymatters 2018

It is the first day of 2018. The craziness of the holidays is behind us, and a new year awaits us. 

This post isn't to give you more "resolutions" but it is meant to help you reflect well and give resources as you move forward in life and flourishing with Jesus and His community.

Here are some questions to consider as you look forward to 2018:

- What do you hope to "leave behind" from the previous year(s)? What unhealthy patterns and habits need to be turned from? What new practices need development and growth as you follow Jesus?

- How do you plan to pursue Jesus and His community this year? Growth is never automatic, it takes prayer, planning, and help from others. 

- If God were to answer your prayers just as asked, would the world change or just your world change? 

If you are looking at a help for the next year, this resource "Seasons" from the Village Church is a helpful intro the the church calendar and helps with family discipleship.

Luke Simmons (a member of our management team) wrote a blog on "Resources for Spiritual Growth" which contains some helpful ideas, books, and podcasts.

Advent: Christmas

There’s a feeling common to most of us; it usually comes on in late afternoon or early evening Christmas Day. After all the presents have been opened and most of the food has been eaten (at least the first round of it), you look around at the remnants of Christmas morning and a sense of sadness begins to creep in. All the buildup over the last month (or half of the year for your favorite craft store)—the decorations, the music, the parties, the shopping—has led to this moment, and now it’s over. Christmas melodies fade into post-Christmas melancholy.

It’s because there is more. We’re conditioned to think that Christmas is an end in and of itself—that the gifts and the lights are the real stuff. And so, when the day has passed, we’re left with 365 days to wait until we do it all over again. But here’s the truth—Christmas does not signify an end, but a beginning. As Jesus begins His earthly ministry in Mark’s Gospel, He proclaims, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” The good news is that Jesus has come to reign as our King and is coming again soon to fully realize His kingship.

REFLECTION

What was Christmas typically like when you were growing up? What event signaled the end of Christmas for you? How did you feel as the season came to a close?

What are some practical ways you can continue to live in the joy of the Savior’s reign, even after the Christmas activities are all finished? Isaiah reminds us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and of His government and peace there will be no end.

Where might God be leading you to be a messenger of His peace this season? What steps can you take this week to speak words of Jesus’ peace?

From "Seasons" by The Village Church