Poets & Prophets
Wed, Mar 08, 2017
Closing out the OT. We are looking at how the Prophetical and Poetical books fit into the Storyline.

Chapter 1

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.
Absent or Present
Sun, Nov 17, 2019
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him. - Esther 1:10-12 (ESV) Do you ever look around this world and wonder where God is in all of this? Does it feel like he is absent? Or maybe He just doesn't care? It's not an uncommon feeling even among honest Christians. Did you know there is a book of the Bible where God is absent. It's the only one where He is never even mentioned. This Sunday, I'm happy to have Jonathan Haefs with us. He is the pastor of Shades Valley Community Church in Birmingham. It's our sister EFCA church in the state. This Sunday he will be with you to open up the book of Esther. In this book God is unseen and unspoken. But is He uninvolved? What might this narrative tell us about our day? And what might it encourage us to consider when we feel like He isn't here?

Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 4

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.

Chapter 6

The Grand Reversal
Sun, Aug 25, 2013
Duration:43 mins
On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. (Esther 6:1 ESV) Insomnia! Some try to cure it through pills or counting sheep. For Persian kings, they seemed to treat it with the reading of official court documents. But behind the sleeplessness and the reading, there was a plan. There was a grand reversal about to take place. This week we will close out the story of Esther. In this rapid, dramatic end, we will see that while God can and has worked through grand, miraculous movements, He is also powerful enough to work through the ordinary actions of people to accomplish his purposes. Take some time to read through Esther 6-10.
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