2 Strategies (Haman's & God's)
Sun, Aug 18, 2013
Duration:40 mins
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14, ESV) God is completely in control. From the largest shifts on a global scale to the roll of the dice, His sovereign hand rules over it all. We have seen this and will continue to see this in Esther. With this truth hovering over us, we are tempted to think that what we do is of little consequence. In fact, if we are not careful, we can veer off into inaction or worse, into sin, because God is gonna do what He will do. But scripture never allows us to think that God's sovereignty vacates our responsibility. In fact, it calls us to move in concert with His will, not against it. This week, Esther is presented with such a choice. Will she put herself at risk and possibly be the instrument of deliverance, or will she fall into inaction? I want to encourage you to read through Esther 4-7 as we continue to unfold this amazing story of a hidden but sovereign God.
2 Men & 2 Plots
Sun, Aug 11, 2013
Duration:43 mins
In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. (Esther 2:21-22, ESV) No good deed goes unpunished. This little quip is thrown around when we don't get what we think we deserve. In fact, while we don't call it that, we kind of believe in karma. If I do good stuff, good stuff will come around. But what if it doesn't? What if you do the good, noble, right thing and are forgotten or worse punished? Is it still worth doing? As we come to the core of the Esther story, we are confronted with a convoluted storyline where do-gooders are forgotten and villains are promoted. And, worse yet, their plots are advanced. And we are left to wonder if God knows, cares, and is still in charge. Take some time in the next couple days to read through Esther 2-6. We will be continuing to look for the hidden God.
2 Queens - 2 Banquets
Sun, Aug 04, 2013
Duration:42 mins
He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. (Esther 2:7, ESV) Reading through the story of scripture can sometimes feel more like a fantasy adventure than real life. With amazing miracles and words from God coming down, it can make real life seem dull and silent. I've never seen a burning bush, witnessed a miracle, or taken a long journey. So have you and I ever witnessed God at work? Esther is the story of a hidden God. The most remarkable thing about this book is that the name of God is never mentioned and no one ever prays. In fact, I think in some ways this book gives us the most realistic way that God works in our day. And it is one of the most interesting, engaging, and comical stories in scripture. Take some time this weekend between now and Sunday to read through Esther, and be ready to enter into this engaging story.
Working for a Living
Sun, Jul 14, 2013
Duration:28 mins
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23 The proverbs tell us that good work habits generally lead to prosperity, and that work habits grow out of character, and that character is formed by our awe of God. This week we will look at what the book of Proverbs has to say about work, some "nonprofessional" areas of application, and some examples.
Sun, Jul 07, 2013
Duration:50 mins
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:1-3, ESV) In Proverbs 5-7, there is a central and important theme that Solomon urges his son to understand. In fact, he tells his son the failure to grasp these truths are a matter of life and death. What could be that important? His understanding of and place of sex in his life. Generally the modern church seems to have taken one of two approaches to this subject. Either with red faces, we have avoided the subject at all costs pointing to politeness or piety. Or we have acted like junior high school boys, snickering in the corner in having discovered a forbidden curiosity. This week we want to look at these chapters and deal with sexuality in the Proverbs clearly, honestly, and most importantly biblically. My goal with this sermon is to be frank, but not vulgar, because this subject is vital in our day to think rightly about. (For those with children, I will leave it to your discretion for your family to look at the following website which has been a help and encouragement in my preparation): I believe that in these texts, God has work to do in our lives, hearts, relationships, and marriages. I encourage you to take some time over the next few days to slowly read Proverbs 5-7.
Sun, Jun 30, 2013
Duration:36 mins
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 Friendship and brotherhood is such an important principle of faith. God is so concerned with it that 6 of the 10 commandments deal with our relationships to one another. How do we become good friends? What unites us in our friendships? This week we will look at what the book of Proverbs has to say about this.
Sun, Jun 23, 2013
Duration:39 mins
In the fear of Lord one has strong confidence and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26 This week, we will be seeing what the proverbs have to say about parenting. What is the spiritual responsibility of the parent? How are we to raise them in the fear of the Lord? God has given us clear directions on both of these topics. Please be in prayer as we open our hearts to the Lord and humbly seek his guidance.
Sun, Jun 16, 2013
Duration:52 mins
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Proverbs 18:21, ESV) All of us carry around powerful weapons. I'm not talking about the "bullet" variety. And everyday we will use them either for "life or for death." With our words we can encourage and help those around us, or we can shred people to bits. Unless you take a vow of silence, you can't avoid this reality. This week, we take a look at what the Proverbs have to say about our speech, and it's a bunch. I want to encourage you to take some time to prepare your heart for our time. Not sure where to start? Chapter 6 is filled with long sections on this subject. Take some time to slowly read and consider it.
The Wise, the Simple, & the Fool
Sun, Jun 09, 2013
Duration:54 mins
Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: (Proverbs 8:1-3, ESV) I love to go to baseball games. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I love the atmosphere, and most of all, the food. The vendors that wander the aisle of major stadiums are always great theatre as they weave through the crowd, hollering out, and literally pitching their product to the needy crowd. I can hear their cries of 'Peanuts!' But the one thing about these vendors is that they always seemed elusive. When I want peanuts, he's on the other baseline. When I want an ice cream, he's in the upper deck. They remind me of Solomon's description of wisdom. She is both obvious and elusive. She can be found calling out from the busy street corner. But she must be searched for like precious treasure. The question before us is - are we looking? This week, we are going to meet several of the characters of Proverbs. That's right, characters. Solomon helps us to understand wisdom and folly by personifying them. Check out chapter 8-9 for a preview. And come ready to find wisdom from God's word.
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