"When did John get the vision for A Restoration Church?" Someone asked me that question yesterday. I gave her a milestone answer but have been thinking about other milestones since. There are significant experiences in ministry and life that brought us both to our own brokenness and then to care deeply about brokenness in others.
The church of Jesus Christ in its institutional form (whatever denomination or flavor) can be a very scary place to be broken. Often the wounded become more shattered by the very people who should be embracing and encouraging!
My grandmother had "heart trouble." I don't know her exact diagnosis. I'm not sure she did either, but some doc along the way diagnosed a certain issue with her heart. I was about two when Grandmother's "heart trouble" was discussed by family members in her presence. I piped up to say, "Grandmother, don't you know the Bible says, 'Don't let your heart be troubled.' ?" (John 14:1) Everyone thought my observation was precocious and cute, but it was also a huge life lesson for me in coming years of life and ministry.
ALL of us experience various forms of brokenness in life resulting in "heart trouble" of various forms. Sadly the place where we should find the most comfort - the church - is often the place where there is the most judgment and rejection resulting in more "heart trouble." It is risky to be real! More often than not being broken or being real or just being a sinner in the process of restoration simply heaps more hurt on hearts already crushed! That's when people walk away from Jesus because people (like me and like you) who carry His name don't have God's heart for brokenness.
Our model is Jesus Who took on our skin (leaving heaven to wear a "man suit" for a time) and moved into our world (John 1:14). Matthew 9:35 describes the heart of Jesus for broken people of all kinds, "He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."
We are surrounded by brokenness - some visible and some hidden but all very real. God calls us to be moved with compassion - motivated to act and care! Our hearts - like Jesus' heart - must be so moved to care that we step out of our comfort zones to do the sometimes even messy business of loving people! It may be risky and costly but it is Kingdom work Jesus modeled. God's Spirit will walk with us among the brokenness we find to give us the grace to love and to literally put hands and feet on that love!
That is what A Restoration Church is all about! We are broken. We know it. We are in the process of restoration. Jesus said He came to help those who know they are broken not those who think they are "just fine, thank you very much"! Jesus came for the broken! (Matt. 9:12) He walks with us both in our own brokeness and as we reach out to others just like us! THAT'S what A Restoration Church is all about!