This past weekend at Newbridge Church, we held our first morning service, and kicked off a new message series called Restore. This series is really significant because it gets to the heart of why we started Newbridge, who we want to be, and what we want to do as a group of Christians in Central NJ.
The big, and somewhat risky, idea that drives the whole series is that we believe as a church that God's heart throughout history is for the restoration of brokenness. While pretty much all Christians believe that we are made new in heaven, after this life, we believe that God intended for us to partner with Him in renewal and restoration right NOW.
We realize that full and complete restoration of all things lies on the other side of eternity, but we believe there is a clear Scriptural calling to living a restorative life right now because it reflects the heart, nature, and work of God through history - epitomized in the person and work of Jesus when he walked the earth. This is the root message of the Gospel, which starts first with Jesus’ restoration of our broken relationship with God.
But the cross is not where the journey ends, it's where it begins. Gabe Lyons says this: "...Christ’s redemptive work is not the end or even the goal of our stories; redemption is the beginning of our participation in God’s work of restoration in our lives and in the world. Understanding that one idea literally changes everything.”
While it's tempting to separate ourselves from the brokenness and pain of the world and culture around us, or to just blend in, fly under the radar, and not make waves, I believe we are called to a third way. Jesus clearly outlines this in the gospel of John, chapter 14, where he says "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these..." (John 14:12 NIV) The idea here isn't that we are in any way greater than Jesus, but that ALL of us are commissioned to do the things he did. Together, we can do a multitude of small things that adds up to a GREAT thing.
- Engaging Culture- not becoming like our cultural surroundings, but being fluent in them- building a bridge to and from faith that can be crossed.
- Live The Gospel- realizing that the redemptive work of Jesus isn’t just a message or a theological proposition, but a lifestyle- a narrative that impacts literally every part of our living.
- Join with God to Restore The World. This is a ceaseless story of God’s redemptive heart and work throughout the Bible and throughout history, and epitomized in the Gospel- a story which we are not just invited, but called to join in.
If you're interested in learning more about this, we'd love for you to join us at a weekend service, or watch or listen online as we continue the series! Together we'll look at what God is restoring this TO (the "ought"), how we join him in this, and how we can do it together.
I’m excited to be on this journey with you, and I truly believe that becoming a movement of Restorers is what God is calling us to at Newbridge. I hope you’ll stay connected with us as we continue the adventure!