News Letter

#restorationworthsharing


 
Hello fellow drafters of Jesus,

          Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
 
One thing us church planters are always thinking about is how to measure ministry growth. And that is absolutely apparent in the final week of the year. We all look back and ask; have we grown, as individuals, families and as a church? Do we have friends that others have forgotten about? Do we connect with people in all the various stages of a walk with Christ; curious; believer, disciple, and disciple maker. Have we had baptisms, impacts on the community, new faith commitments? Have we seen the restoration of people and place alongside the restoration of bikes?
 
At Restoration Hamilton I believe the answer is yes. We had our first baptism service this past summer, we’ve seen two new faith commitments, and we continually see growth in the various stages of faith. We saw the restoration of the Shop Backyard and we can point to life restoration in various individuals. But some measures are not so tangible. How do you measure victory over sin as a church, or attitude changes towards the callings of God? The answer is often stories. Some that you can tell and others that you can’t.
 
My favourite story recently involves none other than Santa himself. It all starts like this… Two month ago Grace and Carlos had just come back from Guinea. They had heard a call from the Lord to be sent out and investigate opportunities for partnership. When they returned they shared about their trip and challenged our community to think about missions; Abroad, but also at home. Amidst their challenge there was a question.

The question was… “How can we do missions when we are not all pastors? How can I do missions at home when I don’t have all the answers?” Carlos then taught us that even though we aren’t all trained pastors that we are still ALL called to go and make disciples. But not without a gift. God has gifted us with something very special to do this job; a testimony. “Chandler might be the pastor of Restoration Hamilton, but he can’t tell YOUR experience of God and YOUR experience of God is meant for someone.” Only you can tell your story and that story is powerful and effective in missions home and abroad. Someone out there needs to hear YOUR story. And YOUR Testimony speaks immeasurably above any theology degree or apologetic argument.

That evening there seemed to still be some uncomfortableness with the idea of sharing ones faith with another. But just a few weeks later the same man who asked that question did two things that proved the point.

That man is the local Santa Clause (one of many… don’t tell the kids). He shared that the most common request that “Santa” has heard from the kids this year was “can you get my parents to get along”. It broke his heart. “Santa” decided his response would be this… “I’m sorry… and Santa can help…Santa can pray for you.” I can’t imagine the impact it has on a child to hear that Santa has to pray to Jesus. Santa was testifying to children that there are some things that can’t be bought and all we can do is rely on the grace of God. Santa didn’t know it… but he had become a missionary without a theology degree. The next week that same gentleman asked what he could bring to our Christmas dinner. I said “a friend”. He laughed at me… but wouldn’t’ you know it… he brought someone. He found someone and invited them. They came and they had a great time. That person heard the good news and the Christmas story. I think we measured something… we’ve got a new disciple maker and evangelist at Restoration Hamilton.

The Ask
            I can’t wait for 2017. If God does half what He did in 2015, and 2016 then it will be a fantastic year. I look forward to three more shop dinners, 12 more Shop Talks, our newly branded Church@theSHOP, a few new seasons of Restoration Groups. I look forward to more Joy Rides, time at the Beer Store Church more family reunions, another baptism service, and visits form friends in Ohio, Atlanta, Nebraska, and beyond.  Thanks to some new commitments at the end of this year projected local giving’s and partnerships look like they will get us 95% of the way. That being said there is always room to grow. We have had a continued desire to raise funds to support a student intern, we want to have some funds to support new works that emerge in the next couple years and there are some great new partnership ideas that the Hamilton Fellowships and us have been brainstorming. Through all this new gifts and partnerships will be necessary.

All checks can be made out to “Restoration Hamilton” and mailed to 787 Upper Horning Rd. Hamilton ON L9C 7R4. Or Click this link and make sure to select Restoration Hamilton under the Toronto Church Planting option

#restorationworthsharing


 
Hello fellow drafters of Jesus (Oct - Nov 2016)

               A year ago I waked into my favourite coffee shop in Hamilton, 541. 541 café & Eatery  is much more than a coffee stop; it’s a place that brings neighbourhoods together. Augustine was volunteering behind the counter when I got there. He saw my Steel City Bike Festival T-Shirt and immediately started asking questions. I invited him to sit down and chat. We had the chance to talk about his own hopes to run a social enterprise and we got to talk about the good news and my own calling to ministry. Gus, as I began to call him, became very interested in serving the cycling community through New Hope Community Bikes and about chatting further about faith, spirituality and how that specifically plays out in the business sector.

            Over the next year Gus and I became friends. He helped me with Spanish, I shared with him my perspective on the incarnation and how it can impact even the business world, and we often ran into one another at the shop.

            Eventually Gus began to come to our popcorn prayer nights and the occasional Shop Talk. Over that year I learned about Gus’s spirituality and worldview. He was open to anything and everything. He valued coexistence (in fact that is what is written on his bike with all world religion symbols) with all belief systems and practiced religious activities from various cultures. There were many times that I was able to ask questions at the right moment and challenge the logic and assumption of such a worldview.

            I knew Gus was being drawn by God when he said he considered himself a Christian who believed in Jesus but just not as extremely as someone like myself.

            Last week however, something changed. Gus had an encounter with some Mormon evangelists. But the foundation of conversation God had built over the last year plus a clear work of the Holy Spirit spoke to Gus. Gus realized that something about Mormonism was not right. Something didn’t sit well with him. So Gus called me up and asked to chat. We talked in his kitchen for about an hour about the authority of God’s word and about the claims of Jesus. And we saw how the claims of Joseph Smiths don’t line up to the bibles nor do Joseph’s claims come with the evidence of a resurrection. We jumped around a bit to address a few Mormon claims including all people becoming gods and the belief in a pantheon of god’s. And we concluded together that God is one and that He is transcendent and holy from creation.
From there we narrowed in on a transcendent God becoming flesh. We talked about grace and works and how there is no step ladder that can get us into right relationship with God only faith in the works of a God who loved us enough to die for us.

          We read Ephesians 2 and looked closely at “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

         #RestorationWorthCelebrating then happened. Gus said “I believe that” and I said “Then I have to ask…do you want to give your life to Jesus?” and Gus said “I do…But how do I do that?” from there we looked at Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I then asked Gus to admit his sin to God, declare his belief in Jesus (including his death and resurrection) and then commit his life to God by the grace of God. And Gus did just that.

         God has clearly done a great work in Gus’ life. The Lord has opened his eyes and shown him the clear contrast between the way of Jesus and all other ways. And Gus has put his faith in Jesus’ way.
Pause with us this week as we praise God for saving the lost.


#restorationworthsharing


 
Hello fellow drafters of Jesus (Aug - Sept 2016)

Values
            Here at Restoration Hamilton we like to say we value B.I.K.E.R.S. That is to say that we value people. As we still see ourselves as an infant church we have focused in these early stages on relational gatherings rather than on finding a building and rather than establishing permanent programs. That being said, God has met our needs for facility and for organized and consistent discipleship spaces. In the month of Oct we begin another season of focusing on Home Group development. Each group will be committed to 6 sessions before Christmas. One of those groups will keep riding on the Romans Road. Another group will be a place for women to care, share and pray as they use the Bible Project Series to facilitate the share portion of their time. And we will reignite the 787 Bible Project Home Group followed by a board game social. But all this being said, the value I want to share with you today is K. Our Core Group knows that K stands for Kingdom Cooperation. We value the kingdom breaking forth in various locations more than we value the name of Restoration Hamilton. We hope to be one pocket in a greater kingdom. And we recognize the value of relationships with local churches and Christian organizations like New Hope Community Bikes and Indwell. And nothing would make us happier than to see a customer of the shop grow as a disciple and become a leader of that kingdom beyond the RH pocket.

The word
            The Apostle Paul writes to a gathering of believers in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 and says this “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” Paul is training us to recognize that we do not follow one Christian leader or another but that each leader is part of a body in Christ being grown by God. Jesus is the head and it is God who draws and grows each believer. I believe that Restoration Hamilton is and can continue to be part of this process. We can water what others have planted and plant where others will water and by our faith God will grow these seeds into great people mechanics.

A Story of Growth
            The best example at Restoration Hamilton of how this works is with Darrell. Darrell is a true Hamiltonian and rides his bike everywhere. He has struggled with addictions for many years and has a past that includes his dealer getting him into rehab. Darrell had been coming in the bike shop long before Restoration Hamilton was even thought about. And over the years he had the shop help with his biking needs and had even run into a few Christian gatherings in the city along his journey. I met Darrell at the shop and continued to run into him here and there. He was very nomadic. Then something changed. Darrell began showing up more often. Darrell was getting and staying clean. We became friends and Darrell told me how he had begun to talk to God. A Christian leader in the city heard his story and how he had started to hear God’s call during his quite time. This leader planted the seed and told Darrel to “talk back” And so he did. Then Darrell started coming to Shop Talks and then to weekly gatherings. Today Darrel has become a believer, and this week we will baptize him. Darrel has prayed the sinners prayer with me but what I love about his attitude is that the first time I asked him "have you put your faith and trust in Jesus? " his response was "every day...every day". If only we all had this attitude of picking up our cross DAILY and following him eh? And so the Christian community has planted seeds in Darrel, The bike shop has watered those seeds with care and compassion, and today Darrel is actively participating in tackling meatier issues of faith. He has moved from customer to disciple because God is active in his growth.



#restorationworthsharing


 
Hello fellow drafters of Jesus, (July 2016)

                 It is always a blessing to write these updates as I am reminded of the great cloud of witnesses there are to the work of God in Hamilton. I am encouraged to know that you are with us and for us as we equip people mechanics.
This past month our team has been diving into the concept of multiplication. We have affirmed that we desire multiplication to be part of our DNA. We are still in our infancy stages but know that part of our calling is to multiply leaders, disciples and even churches. What this looks like 5-10 years from now includes planting the seeds for a new social enterprise that houses a church, 3-5 years from now it looks like various new home groups of 10-12 people (at least one with potential to be its own church) and today looks like the investment into leaders and new believers who will carry us into these next steps.

                 We truly believe that by the grace and power of God through the work of a few faithful individuals and the support of the greater cloud of witnesses we will see much fruit. So thank you for being with us in the beginning and for believing in the first steps of our mission. Know that your own investment whatever the capacity will be multiplied.

                Today we stay focused on the strategy of Befriend, Invite, Challenge, Train and Reinvest. To that regard we continue to make new friends and see new faces at Shop Talks.  In fact, as I write this Maria and Sarah are engaging in building stronger friendships through a girl’s night out. Together the group of them will have dinner, share life stories and study God’s Word. And on Friday some of the friendships I have been building over the past year will meet for the second time to study the book of Romans together. And these are such important things to celebrate for it shows that friendship with the community is being grown by God and given new spiritual life. 

New growth
               Please also remember that we continue to find New Hope Bikes to be a perfect place to build new friendships. Each day one of us is there, we seem to meet someone new. And God often blesses one of us with the perfect opportunity to share His truth with someone who needs it, or lend a helping hand in compassion. This week for example I was able to connect with one of our neighbours in a real way for the first time. Recently this man lost his brother to cancer and for whatever reason he decided to ask me for help finding a headstone. I met him for coffee and we worked out the practical needs and then jumped into matters of grief and eternal life. I was able to share the gospel message easily when I discovered this man’s favourite verse growing up was John 3:16. We discussed its meaning and I challenged this man to probe into the incredible importance this truth has in his life. Interestingly enough, after having stayed in that same coffee shop (across the road from the Bike Shop) for a little while after our meeting I got talking with a guy about who was about to do the coffee shop’s live music for the evening. He asked what I did and I shared with him that I was a pastor. At first the conversation took a difficult turn as he told me that the church had failed him. He is struggling with cancer and all he wants in the world right now is a friend and a place to play the organ. But every church he has called and every pastor he has approached has not returned his call and not let him come play music at their church. And long story short I have this man’s card and will be connecting soon about places to play music and find friends in his time of need. He is very interested in joining our Shop Talks.

                 The Outdoor Learning Center that we were able to build with the help of North Fairfield and the Hamilton Fellowships last month has proven to be an incredible resource. Again this month we had Shop Talks and all our prayer meetings outside. In combination with the new Rudy Holst Commons next door this outdoor format has proven very valuable. The smoking shelter outside the Commons is now in earshot of all our meetings and we have seen a surprising amount of individuals slowly move from the shelter over to the Learning Center to take part in prayer and listen to the message and worship.

Prayer          
                 Please pray as Maria and I look at moving to the east end of Hamilton. Our hope is to buy a home close to the Bike Shop. We truly believe now is the right time to move. We are simply looking for the right place. Pray that God prepares that place for us and that He uses it to help aid in the ministry of Restoration Hamilton. Pray for favour in these competitive markets. Please also pray for us as we look for a student intern for the start of September. We hope to multiply our own discipleship in the heart of a student from MacDiv who desires to follow the Lord through a calling to Church Planting and/or Chaplaincy of a social enterprise. Please also pray for some of our core leadership team as they more fully define their own personal callings and missions.  And finally as always pray for new believers and disciple makers. There are two events in particular you can pray for: 1) that we will connect with many at our ride to Niagara this week; 2) we are planning a joint effort with New Hope Community Bikes called Ride Wise. Ride wise is a six 3 hour mountain biking course sprinkled with time set aside for small group bible study and conversation. The target group will be junior and senior high. Pray for our leaders and for the hearts of the students involved.  Each time you see a bike remember us and our vision to see the restoration of people and place alongside the restoration of bikes.
                                                                                                                               

#restorationworthsharing

   Hello fellow drafters of Jesus, (June 2016)

             Thank you for your continued partnership in equipping people mechanics in Hamilton. We have much restoration worth sharing about in this volume. As you know, our vision is to see the restoration of people and place alongside the restoration of bikes, and this month we have had the opportunity to invest in the place aspect of that vision. The new Outdoor Learning Center will be used to invest in the restoration of people for years to come. Not too long ago we dreamed of expanding the capacity the shop has for repairing bikes by creating some outdoor seasonal work space. This would change the capacity the shop has for serving the east end and the general Hamilton cycling community. Additionally, the OLC provides new options for our Shop Talks and Prayer nights. North Fairfield Baptist Church from Hamilton Ohio and our very own local sending church (the Hamilton Fellowships) heard the call for help and began last week to convert our bicycle graveyard behind New Hope Community Bikes into the Outdoor Learning Center. Kind of a cool picture of resurrection - bike death has no sting. This has certainly been #restorationworthcelebrating Thank you to New Hope Church for your prayers and support as we broke new ground and to North Fairfield and the Fellowships for breaking that ground with us.

Shop Talks
             Of course, as the OLC has been built people restoration has continued. Many of our own members helped build the OLC and made it an even more functional space than originally dreamed. This week we had  the opportunity to worship outdoors under the new OLC as we celebrated father’s day, a new summer season of gathering, the coming together of the various teams and pockets of God’s kingdom and the grand opening of the center. We enjoyed a BBQ as we did all this, which proved a great way to connect with our new   neighbours in the also recently opened Rudy Hulst Commons. We now have 50 new neighbours, many of which came to share in our BBQ and Shop Talk.  We lost count this time, but estimates are close to 60 in attendance last Friday.

            Beyond this our Leadership Team is beginning to define roles around our Values and we are seeing the teachers teach, prayer warriors pray boldly, and the joyful lead us in celebration. This week Luis lead a full team in worship, Carlos taught about baptism, Sarah and Maria fielded questions and we began plans for some rides and trips this summer. Your prayers and support are making our team more effective each day.

Highlights
          I have been very encouraged by the commitment of two of New Hope’s key volunteers. Brodie has served the shop for many years and has now also developed an interest for Restoration Hamilton. Brodie declares himself undecided about religion in general but is asking many questions, sharing prayer requests and serving his community. We have invited Brodie to join our leadership team as a L.I.T.  Pray for his journey form curious to believer and pray that as he listens to the passion of other leaders that he will be equipped to not just restore bikes but go out and restore people though the gift of our saviour Jesus Christ. Our second volunteer is a High school co-op student named Jamie. Jamie is still discovering his calling in life. Jamie is at every meeting we have and co-ops in the shop all day. He is a self-declared agnostic but invites more people to Shop Talks than most. In fact, he decided to offer someone a bible just the other day and said “hey look at that, the agnostic sharing Jesus with somebody” Recently  Jamie decided that he was more of a deist than agnostic but he still needs to figure out how much involvement this god he believes in has with humanity. Pray that as we talk this through God opens his heart and eyes to the truth.

           Finally, I want to share a special highlight. Through one of our small group gatherings we connected with single mother of 4. The kids are now adults but have all moved home. This was unexpected and so our new friend needed do some home renovations. We were able to help her do that as she searched for a new job and a new tenant for her Apt. Through much prayer and the help of our team and friends, our new friend's home is now in better order, she has a new job, she has a new tenant and she has begun to invest deeply in our church family. Furthermore, Sherri has become great at the invitation piece of our strategy. Our new friend continues to involve her children in our meetings and has also successfully invited a completely unchurched friend to join us Friday nights.

Prayer 
          Please pray for us as we develop our Values. We have come to say that we Value B.I.K.E.R.S (Bold Prayer, Incarnational Friendship, Kingdom Co-operation, Education (biblical), Rest and Recreation, Song and Celebration). Pray also for our summer season. For us, the summer is the busy season as the shop is always packed and as we have many events on the New Hope side and on the Restoration Hamilton side of things. Pray for rest among our leaders and the ability to say no to the right things as God shows us where our efforts are BEST placed. Pray for long lasting and meaningful relationships to develop with our new neighbours in the Rudy Hulst Commons. Pray for our new fiscal calendar that we are able to reach our set targets. Pray also that as we develop more partners that our interdependent and reciprocal relationship will be filled by the grace and power of our God and that this partnership challenges us and grows the kingdom in visible ways.


 

#restorationworthsharing

Hello fellow drafters of Jesus,

          I am writing you full of joy because at our most recent Shop Talk we had 6 people join the paceline behind Jesus. That's right, 6 people decided to take the bold step to move from spiritually curious to believers in Jesus. It was Friday, Feb 19th at 7pm when Carl Carmody began to share his testimony with about 31 of us. We enjoyed the meal together, we were reminded of the theology of restoration as we gathered around restored bicycles and we listened to Carl's story. Between story time and that of the Restoration band leading us in worship our friend Harold began to pray. With his prayer, he invited any who were willing to join him in committing themselves to following Jesus. That night we celebrated in worship along with 6 people just saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus. We shouted for joy for the miracle God had just done.

            You should be encouraged right alongside our team. What we have set out to do, as called by God, has shown fruit. Your prayers and participation in God's plan in east Hamilton have been heard.

            Restoration Hamilton has set out to equip people mechanics so that we might see the restoration of people and place alongside the restoration of bikes.  We befriend, invite, challenge and train. And the hope is that each step of the way God calls individuals to move from curious to believers in Jesus; on to disciples and disciple makers. And this month 6 have made that leap from curious to believer.  Pray along with us as we seek God's guidance in riding beside these masterpieces in a new stage of their faith.

            I am also excited to tell you that there are new opportunities for discipleship at Restoration Hamilton. Our Friday night Prayer meetings have been full of rich prayer; Our Shop Talks have been well attended and now we have opened up a bi-weekly home group and bible study. In this study we are walking through the bible using the Bible Project online tools. This has been a rich time of fellowship, connecting with fringe members of our community and investigative dialogue about the narrative of God's word.

            Additionally, we have been taking New Hope Community Bike volunteers and staff on field trips to Joy Ride. This activity has helped shape our relationship with many and given us a context of friendship and mentorship. Frankly, it is a lot of fun and at the same time gives a lengthened period to lead by example and speak into the lives of others.

            We hope to continue with our plan. God's church is growing within the shop walls. We are learning to be the church at New Hope Community Bikes. We are planning meet ups every week.  We are seeing people grasp hold of the vision. Our team is being challenged with new responsibilities. And God is giving us new joys every morning.

            Yet, there is still room to help. We are always in need of more prayer. The shop can always use more volunteers. We are praying for others to grasp the vision of chaplaincy through the bike shop. We have financial goals to reach by June; both with local tithes and partners. And we have short term mission teams coming to us this summer that need organization.

            What I ask is this... will you pray with us each time you see a cyclist or when you are on a bike. Will you also consider providing your time to help us as we serve in the shop, offering free bike repair outside the Beer Store Monday mornings and as we retrofit the shop to be church in the bike shop every Friday night. Would you also consider ways in which you can partner with us in our second financial year?
 

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