9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
~ Romans 12:9-13
In Romans 9:13, God instructs us through the words of the apostle Paul to practice hospitality. It is worth noting that Scripture is not tossing out a suggestion here. “Consider practicing hospitality when it is convenient or if you feel you might be particularly gifted in that area.” No. Practice hospitality. Paul’s word choice here is specific. He is not saying “practice” in the sense of “try this out to see if you’re any good at it” but rather “do this over and over and over so often that you get good at it.” Therefore, we are commanded to eagerly pursue, seek, and run after hospitality. Furthermore, Paul indicates from verse nine that the pursuit of hospitality is a fruit of sincere love.
In 1 Peter 4:8-9, Peter, like Paul frames hospitality in the context of a loving command:
8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
It would stand to reason that the call to pursue hospitality is not merely a call to practice a certain set of actions (thought it is not less than this), but a call to be a certain type of person. You know this type of person immediately when you encounter them. They love sincerely and deeply; they are hospitable with no strings attached. They are the type of person who is willing to undergo personal sacrifice for the glory of God and for the good of His people. In God’s call to practice and pursue hospitality, this is the type of person He is asking us to be.
Hospitality by its nature is inconvenient, and the practice of hospitality requires some level of personal sacrifice. There have been many times when my family and I have been the recipients of others’ hospitality. I remember a specific time earlier this year when some friends invited us to their house for brunch. It was evident that an amount of foresight and preparation had gone into our being there. Their house was clean, a meal had been prepared, and their demeanor and interactions with us were warm and engaging. They broke from their normal routines, bought extra food and invested extra time and effort to invite us into their home, though we had no inherent right to be there. The command to pursue hospitality is a command to be that type of person, willing to sacrifice, not grumbling at the inconvenience or resentful at whatever personal cost has to be made to pursue someone through hospitality.
It is not difficult to see how hospitality is intrinsic to the gospel of Jesus Christ. A great price has been paid by a gracious Host to invite many in to a place we have no inherent right to be. We are here by loving and gracious invitation. If we understand the gospel, hospitality is simply a natural overflow of Jesus’ grace in our life to others’. Only through Him can we be the type of person God calls to be.
During our relocation process, I have been using and thinking about the phrase “our new church home” to refer to our new facility here in Dulles, VA. “Home” has certain implications for most; for me, home is an intersection of duty and delight. There is duty in that my home requires constant maintenance and upkeep, and there is delight in extending the benefits of my home with others – family, friends or otherwise. Particularly in this age of visual learners, the practice of hospitality is a poignant and tangible reminder of God’s gracious hospitality though Christ. Hospitality should be a hallmark of our homes and our church. God grants us the grace to pursue this virtue through Christ, and to steward this well, we must find that sweet spot where duty and delight intersect – obeying the command to practice hospitality, but delighting in it because it glorifies Him as our greatest treasure.
Pray that God would mature and bless our families and our church as we seek to reflect the glory of the gospel of Christ through the practice and pursuit of hospitality.
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Let me also offer a practical & specific next step for you: consider joining our Host Team here at RBC. The Host Team is comprised of volunteers who serve during weekend services in various capacities. This team is an incredibly important part of church life at RBC and is the first point of contact for many guests and our own congregation. We currently desire to raise up over 100 men and women to serve as ushers and parking lot attendants during our Sunday services. You can find more information here: www.restonbible.org/resources/volunteer
I trust that many of you were able to attend a service this past Sunday at the new RBC location. It was a special day and one in which was the fulfillment of many prayers. I praise the Lord for what He has done and look forward to what He will continue to do in and through His RBC body. During the summer, we usually average 1065 adults and 220 children in three services. Our first Sunday at the new location we had 1700 adults and 390 children in two services. To God be the glory!
As many of you noticed, this blessing was accompanied with a few parking challenges. I trust that this Sunday you will notice a vast improvement in parking and traffic flow. I know that each of us would like to assure that all elderly, expectant mothers, families with small children, those with special needs and guests have the opportunity to park in the church parking lot. In addition, we desire the traffic to flow in a safe and timely fashion. Therefore, I want to introduce two new opportunities to serve.
OVERFLOW PARKING MINISTRY
Would you be willing to serve by occasionally parking in the overflow lot (first left off of Oakbrook as you enter from Cascades Parkway)? We have access to 120 parking spaces in this lot and would like able-bodied volunteers to choose to park in the overflow lot to make room in the RBC lot. For now, we would like to utilize all 120 spaces on August 15 and 22, not knowing the exact need. You may drop off passengers in the drop off circle, located in front of the church, prior to entering the overflow lot. Parking attendants and signs will direct you to this lot as you arrive on Sunday. It is a 10-minute leisurely walk from the overflow lot to the church, so plan accordingly.
To volunteer, please register online by clicking here.
PARKING ATTENDANT MINISTRY
We have an immediate need for volunteers to help direct the flow of traffic. We are looking for 50-60 volunteers (men and women), who can commit to serve once every 4 to 6 weeks as a parking attendant. We will have three parking teams serving each week during these times:
TEAM 1: Before first service 8:45-9:20AM
TEAM 2: In between services 10:15- 11:05AM
TEAM 3: After second service 12:15-12:40PM
Training will be provided this Sunday (August 15) at 8AM and 11:10AM in classroom 250A. To volunteer, please click here to register.
God has truly blessed us with these facilities and may we use them to impact lives for His glory. Thank you in advance for serving and impacting a life in this way. Keep keeping on!
~ Tony Pedroni (on behalf of the Elders)
Where and in whom do you find your identity? Jobs, family, friends? Join us September 17-19, 2010 at the Reston Bible Church Men’s Retreat. John Lynch, the teaching pastor at Open Door Fellowship in Phoenix, AZ, joins us this year as our keynote speaker. More information and online registration can be found at www.restonbible.org/identity
On August 8, 2010, after over ten years of faithful giving, planning and praying, Reston Bible Church held our first services in our new church home in Dulles, VA.
How does a pastor express his thanks to so many people who have made all this a reality? We had six hundred more adults than we normally have. We went through 32 gallons of coffee. (Is it any wonder the toilets were clogged?)
We have many challenges ahead of us and we will need your patient cooperation over these next few months. As your pastor, I just wanted to say how thrilled I am to help shepherd such a wonderful group of people who truly want to see the kingdom advanced throughout the world. You have blessed my life and family more than you could ever know.
To God be the glory.
This slideshow contains photos of construction on the original Reston Bible Church facility in 1983-84. This clip was shown as part of our final service in this building on August 1, 2010.
I never cease to be amazed at the strength of my flesh. Its natural affinity for the world offers no resistance but yields so easily. This fallen man, referred to by Paul as “wretched,” is so hopelessly entangled with pleasing itself it becomes drowned in its own selfish pursuits.
Thus, we must see ourselves through the lens of Scripture that penetrates the heart where self-examination fails to reach. Scripture affords us the great privilege of looking beyond our natural horizons. We can see with the eye of faith that which the natural eye will never comprehend. We can hear the voice of God that our natural ears are deaf to.
We are foreigners to a life of rest, but very familiar with frustration, angst, fear, restlessness and unnecessary busyness. This should not be. If God is our central pursuit, then all that satisfies us will be found in Him. We are not to be discouraged by our fallen nature but are to rejoice in the power of our new nature, which is born again and takes us out of the kingdom of darkness and places us into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
” A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” -Proverbs 11:1
Honesty is a character trait that has undergone radical examination by society, and the verdict is in. Honesty is no longer acceptable as a moral trait. The more we can shade the truth, cheat on a test, or deceive the IRS, the more we are heralded as clever, which is far more important than honesty. The tail is now wagging the dog. Isaiah warns of such times when he says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
The body of Christ must be above reproach. We must avoid the false balance and see to it that integrity reigns. Truth sheds light on that which is false. Our work ethic along with the words we speak must represent the God we serve. If we put the integrity of our lives on one side of the scale and falsehood on the other side, which side would tip the scale in its favor? Remember that Christ said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.”
A recent Barna survey reports that teens “regularly strive to be connected to a substantial number of other people and yet possess a nagging sense of loneliness, isolation and restlessness. The constant involvement with social networking via the Internet, text messaging and phone calls via mobile devices are manifestations of the investment in relationships and connections that are important but somehow not as fulfilling as desired….”
Some of the most significant desires that teens have today are to be loved, to have a close friend, to be accepted by their peers and to be affirmed by their parents. Yet even in our Facebook and texting generation, many still struggle with loneliness and the lack of real personal connection. The Bible talks about how we as believers are to relate with each other and calls it fellowship. Chrisitan fellowship is described as being so real, so genuine and sacrificial, that even the world would see it and take note. Our teens also deal with a sense of isolation and loneliness at times – even when socially networked with many friends and even when surrounded by Christian peers. Something is missing!
If we are going to understand biblical fellowship, we need to see it in its proper context. Only then can we truly “get” our need for each other and the commitment we are commanded to make towards each other. That context is that we are in a war; there is a battle going on around us, and we are on a mission together, as a team. If we understand this, we can no longer love at a distance but by necessity.
At summer camp this year, we will be using the backdrop of the military where the mission determines the relationship and creates what is called a “band of brothers.” Soldiers intuitively know why they need each other, why they are committed to “have each others backs,” “to carry one another’s burdens,” to “leave no man behind.” to “fight shoulder to shoulder.” That is the vision of fellowship that we want our teens to taste and to experience.
At camp we will also be doing a number of things to help us grow in our mission and in coming together as a team. In the beautiful Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, our teens will have the opportunity to ride the white water of the New River and to rappel down the rock walls that border it. They can tube on Lake Stevens, battle it out in a paintball game, take on the high ropes course, hike the woods, take in a round of golf, or work on as a group on team building challenges. Our hope is that this WILL be the best week of their summer!
Our prayer is that God would begin to change each of us during this time in the way we love each other in the youth ministry, in the way we to unconditionally care for our friends in the world, and in the way we sincerely love our family at home. When we choose to engage in the mission God has given us together, we will more clearly see how we need to love one another, exhort one another, and bear each other’s burdens. May it be said by others, that we are devoted to one another and may they see the love of God that is the reason we do.
We are looking for a few young men and women who want to join us on ONE MISSION, and become ONE TEAM. You can get all the information about camp and register at www.restonbible.org/summercamp
Last week marked the first annual Host Team Appreciation Celebration – this year in the theme of a Fiesta!
The Host Team is the group of volunteers made up of Ushers, Greeters, and Welcome Center Attendants who serve at the services for us each weekend. In thanks for their service, the Host Team and their spouses were invited to attend the Fiesta – an evening of fun including dinner, games, thanks and encouragement for our volunteers. We even ended the evening with piñatas, stuffed to the brim with candy…and yes, three (clearly inadequate) sticks were sacrificed on the piñatas this year.
In attendance to the Fiesta were volunteers who have been serving anywhere from the past couple of months to those who have been serving at RBC for more than 20 years.
The Fiesta was a wonderful celebration of how God has used this ministry for His glory and an opportunity to celebrate those who serve Him so faithfully through this ministry.
Interested in serving on the Host Team (Coffee Team, Greeters, Ushers, Welcome Center, or Parking)? Or just interested in attending the celebration next year to encourage our volunteers? Contact Kemper DeGroot at email@example.com for more information or to learn more about how you can serve here at Reston Bible Church.
IF I WALKED BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT, THEN my faith would be the glasses for my sight. My eyes would look through the lens of faith. Faith would determine what I really see. My eyes would see, but my faith would interpret. My eyes would gaze, but my faith would discern. Rationalization, however, blinds me to this truth. My eyes simply represent one of my five human senses as I desperately want to see, touch, smell, hear, and taste my way through life. Oh, how I want to lean on my own understanding.
If I walk by faith and not by sight, then I will understand that I am to taste and see that the Lord is good. My human senses are not bad. They are God-given gifts in order to get around in this physical world. But they are not good interpreters of the deeper issues of life. Faith allows me to see beyond my natural horizons. When it is said of Abraham in Hebrews 11:10 that he was “looking for a city,” it is not referring to his eyes but to his faith in what God had promised. Jesus also referred to this great man of faith when He said “Abraham saw my day, rejoiced and was glad in it” (John 8:56). It is said of Moses that he could “see Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27).
Faith does not nullify nor replace our human faculties. It simply goes beyond what our senses can perceive. My human wisdom can tell me how much I have in the bank, but my faith can tell me the only One I can bank on. My human wisdom can tell me how strong I am, but faith can tell me “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). My human wisdom can tell me how smart I am, but my faith tells me that I have the mind of Christ. My human wisdom can tell me how healthy I am, but my faith tells me that I will live forever.
I will never walk totally by faith. I must learn to grow in this area. Jesus, however, lived in total dependence upon the Father. He never allowed His senses to get in the way or blur what He could see by faith. The gospel places to my account the faith in His account.
Thank God for this sixth sense of faith.
IF I WERE UNBIASED, THEN I would be able to make proper judgments in life without any thought of personal gain. A predetermined outcome would not be colored by desired results. If I were unbiased, then I would always work from the context of what is true and not what I want to be true. I would see all situations that demand me to make a decision as not being influenced by personality, people, friendships, personal benefit, political leanings, or the fact that I live in America. Rationalization says, “Let’s get serious. Who could possibly live under such constraints?” No doubt, being unbiased will be a threat to our character as long as we live.
If I were unbiased, I would want to make sure that I don’t use excuses for my personal prejudices but weigh all matters on the scales of biblical justice. If I love hymns, am I biased to the point that any songs written in the past twenty years must be shallow and lack doctrinal content? If I love praise songs, am I biased to the point that anything written prior to this century must be stodgy, unexciting, and boring? If Scripture is silent on such issues, then preference may rule what I like – but I should never allow bias to rule out what I don’t like. Do I ever find myself interpreting Scripture through the lens of my favorite theological system rather than letting the Scripture speak for itself? Such bias is rude, as I am interrupting God when He is speaking to me, and if not careful I will find myself telling God what He should be saying to me rather than what He is saying to me.
If I were unbiased, then I would work from a level playing field and not from the rocky soil of prejudice. But I don’t even know when I am being biased because my bias overrules any thought that I could ever stoop so low as being controlled by such a demon. I am so thankful that there is one in which “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). It was said of Jesus in John 1:47 that “Here is an Israelite in whom there is nothing false.” He leveled the playing field and helps us have our minds renewed day by day through His unbiased word.
IF I WERE DISCERNING, THEN I would know the difference between Law and Grace. I would certainly know that the law can’t save me, but my discernment would need to go much deeper than that because my entire Christian life is based on keeping these two in balance. Balance, however, has never been the Christian norm, so in order to make myself feel good, I lean on my trusted friend Rationalization to come to the rescue. It helps me feel good about keeping the law because it appeals to my self-righteousness. It convinces me that by keeping God’s law I will move up the ladder of righteousness a few rungs and can then look down on the rest of the motley bunch below me. It tells me that grace is my ticket to do whatever I please.
If I were discerning, then I would know that I am not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). I would also know that Jesus said He did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17). The law is also holy and just and good according to Paul (Rom. 7:12). So how do I put these together? Not being under the law does not mean I am free to break the law, but should I do so, it can no longer condemn me. It is not a means by which I obtain God’s approval. God’s grace is the power to live the life that he has called me to live (I Cor. 15:10).
If I were discerning, then I would know I need to have a right relationship to the law and to grace which is provided in the person of Christ. However, if you are like me, then you realize we all lack discernment to fully understand all there is to know about law and grace. But there is one thing I am confident in: I am rightly related to the law and rightly related to grace because I am rightly related to Christ who kept the law for me and by his grace gave me the righteousness that the law demands.
Joe and Heidi share the story of their struggle with infertility as part of our teaching series called Fearfully & Wonderfully Made.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:15-16
After many years of praying and planning, Sunday, May 2nd was the first church-wide event at the new building. RBCers were invited to tour our new buildings then grab a sharpie and leave messages of gratitude to the Lord and thanks for the construction workers on the cement floors of our new church home.
Underneath the carpet and tiles of the floors of our church are now written many verses, prayers of petition and thanksgiving to God for His blessings to us.
Walking around the building, you could almost feel the pleasure of the Lord while reading the graffiti-laid floors as children and adults alike wrote notes of thanks to the faithful men who are working so hard to build this building. Prayers for guests, the leadership, the congregation, and all who will enter through the doors of RBC were written everywhere, often in significant places throughout the building. Verses of thanksgiving, requests for wisdom, commands, and the Gospel mark the floors of our building as prayers for RBC and reminders of what God has called us to at Reston Bible Church.
The Sharpie Party was a great joy as our congregation united together to celebrate what God has done and will do in this place.
IF I DELIGHT IN THE LORD, THEN according to Psalm 37:4, I will be given the desires of my heart.
Rationalization has a field day with this verse. We consider this to be carte blanche, and whatever we ask we will be given if we delight in the Lord. So let’s analyze this for a moment. I want a new BMW and since I am delighting in the Lord He will give it to me. Since when is someone delighting in the Lord when material possessions become the main focus? Their delight is in stuff and not the Lord. “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15).
There is another more troubling way to look at this verse. “I really want children” or “I really desire to be married” is the cry of many who have delighted in the Lord, yet these desires have not been fulfilled. But these are normal desires and are not necessarily the result of delighting in Him.
A third understanding is that God places strong desires on our hearts when we delight in Him that cannot be fulfilled in any other way but by supernatural grace.
So if I am delighting in the Lord, then I might expect that He will give me an overwhelming desire to advance the Kingdom in ways that are beyond my normal desires and capabilities. A missionary call or a deep desire to start a Bible study at work may well fall into this category. After I came to know the Lord, I had a passion to plant a church which at the time made no sense at all (and was well out of my comfort zone and training.) But God’s calling is His enabling: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1Thess. 5:24).
If I delight in the Lord then I can expect Him to move in ways that I am not familiar with. Such ways are exciting and have no human explanation attached to them. None of us, however, fully delights in the Lord, yet we have this record of Jesus: “…. for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). When we are in Christ, then what Jesus has done in total obedience to the Father is credited to our account. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov.3:5-6)