I have a feeling that there will be two very different reactions to the contents of this post. Some will read that Amy and I are moving back to Austin to start a church and think, “Of course, I’ve always thought Zach would end up working at a church.” Others will read this and immediately say to themselves, “There must be two Zach Lamberts, because the one I knew was the last person I ever thought would be a pastor.” There is a very simple reason for these polar reactions: I’ve lived two different lives.
I lived one life up until the summer before my senior year of high school. This life was filled with attempts to find my identity in sports, girls, drugs, and friends. Then one night, on a Lake Travis pier, I met grace for the first time. In my previous life I had heard other people talk about grace, even seen grace, but never truly experienced it. I met grace because I met Jesus Christ. He showed me that all of the things I had filled my life with were empty without Him, including the girls I chased and the substances I abused. The emptiness even included “good” things like sports, friends, and church; all of these things meant nothing without Jesus.
My new life began that night. That doesn’t mean that night was the last time I ever did anything wrong, my daily life is riddled with failures. It does mean it was the last time I was ever considered guilty for the times I fail. The good news of the grace that Jesus offers is that his perfection takes the place of our imperfection; past, present, and future, everything we’ve ever done wrong or will ever do wrong is forgiven and taken away. This grace isn’t something that we can earn or achieve, it is a free gift that is offered to us only through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross.
Another amazing thing about this grace that Jesus offers is that it doesn’t just remove our guilt and shame, it enables us to live abundant and fruitful lives. The Holy Spirit comes to transform every person that says “yes” to Jesus. The Spirit brings freedom and empowers us to live a life that is filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Amy and I are moving back to Austin to start a church so that we can share the good news about the grace of Jesus with everyone we can. Restore Austin is a church that longs for people to experience new life through Jesus Christ and authentic relationships within our community.
At Restore Austin, we don’t think it’s enough to just talk about grace. Simply put, we want to embody and express grace to everyone we meet: we embody grace by welcoming and loving everyone, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done; we express grace by helping and supporting people who are in need.
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Every couple of weeks over the next few months, as we prepare to move back to Austin, I will be updating this blog. If you are interested in Restore Austin or want to keep up with our adventure, please enter your email address in the box at the very bottom of this page. I promise not to inundate you with emails or sell your address to advertising companies, I would just love to be able to share our journey with you. If you would like to get in contact with us, you can email me directly at email@example.com or click the tab that says “Connect.”
For the past four years, Amy and I have been praying and preparing for this church. We can’t wait to get back to Austin, the city we love most.