Power to Restore (by Pastor Josh Scott)

This year at church retreat, there were a lot of firsts. First church retreat after the COVID shutdowns, first retreat at Mt. Hermon, the first time many of us heard Pastor Greg Mah. This was also the first SanLo retreat for many of you who are new to our church including my wife, Alexa. If I haven’t gotten a chance to meet you yet, I apologize and hope to change that! But as I first looked out at the congregation during Saturday morning worship, I realized it was the first of hopefully many more retreats and times where this new group of SanLo would have together to sing praises to God and build one another up.

It was so refreshing to have Pastor Greg come and share God’s good word with us. If you didn’t get the chance to hear him, he started with a foundation from Psalm 23 then built from there a series of messages that encouraged us and revealed how the Lord restores us according to his good promises, and how that ultimately culminates in Jesus Christ. Whoever you are, and whatever you have gone through, Jesus can restore us, and despite our lives valleys, he can bring us places we never thought we could go while giving us so much more than we ever thought we could deserve.

I realize that there are still people and things that I still hold onto and miss dearly. Yet, even in my grief and sorrow, Jesus has the power to calm and restore my soul just like he has the power to restore you.

During the retreat, we introduced a new song (Jon Foreman‘s “House of God Forever") that pretty much takes the words of Psalm 23 and puts a melody to them. While the lyrics are familiar, hearing them sung helped me to better savor and meditate on these calming truths: “Your shepherd’s staff comforts me. You are my feast in the presence of enemies. Surely goodness will follow me, follow me, in the House of God forever.”

I pray that, as you all are going through your day-to-day lives, that you would come to see, even if just a little bit, the power that these words have. God guides us, comforts us, cares for us even as we are threatened and his goodness will follow us forever.

It was such a joy to retreat together and worship God together. But for all the fun that we had, I hope that we wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity God has for us all whether we went to retreat or not, to lift up our burdens and cares to him. That as each peak and valley come along in life, we could lean on him and learn to trust him more and more.

There is so much room for us to continue growing as individual believers, but also for us to grow collectively as a whole church. I hope that as we move forward together as a church body, we would strive to become embodiments of God’s powerful and gentle healing for each other’s lives. That whoever we are or whatever we’ve gone through, that we would embody God’s restorative power to each other and to the world at large.                                     By His Grace, Pastor Josh