Latest Video

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Nehemiah: Fitting into the Larger Story

 This morning in our studies, we’ll need to take a step back. Every now and then it helps to take a moment to look around a bit. Hebrews 2:1 warns us: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews will return to this idea in Hebrews 10:23 with the encouragement “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Here and elsewhere in the Bible, the metaphor of drifting away has to do with ships at sea that, if not careful, could drift or wander off course and not end up at the destination they had hoped for.

Every now and then, we need to take a step back and evaluate our course, look at our destination, and look back at how far we’ve come before we can know if we are still making progress. Without these points of reference, and without making necessary changes, we could end up very far from where we had planned. These points of reference are made plain for us in Scripture: God has blessed us, chose us, and destined us to be His holy children and to do His will (Eph 1:3-6). Through Christ His Son He blessed us with the knowledge of His plan of redemption (Eph 1:7-11) “so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:12).

Every now and then, we need to ask if we are living for His glory, or our glory. We need to ask if the course we are on will lead others to His glory or will lead them to destruction. We need to ask what kind of influence we have, and who it is we are influencing. Does our life reflect the glory of Christ? Do we seek after personal gain and glory, or do we seek the riches of the Kingdom of God?

Paul writes this payer in Ephesians 1:17, “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.” We need the kind of wisdom that comes from our heavenly Father so that we can know not just where He is leading us in long-term, but all along the way we need to be asking ourselves: “What are we doing to stay on course?”

Thankfully, we have certain signs we can see along the way to check our course. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus tells us we can look at the fruit we are producing in our lives to know if we are truly one of His. In Colossians 3:16, Paul tells us we have the word of Christ we can use to both teach and admonish one another. In 1 Peter 1:6-8, Peter tells us that the trials of life will help refine our faith, strengthening us on our way home. Thankfully, we can take a step back every now and then and change course.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Rebuilding Relationships: Nehemiah 5

I’m reminded this week that when God works in our lives, He doesn’t just work on part of it. When we pray to God to lead us, when we seek Him in His word, when we earnestly knock on the door of faith (Mat. 7:7-8) we must know that God isn’t interested in only changing some of us.

No, God desires a transformation such that the whole person is changed. If we are changed, but only some, then our lives won’t be that different. We can be the person we used to be at work, or at home, in our hobbies, and in our sins. When Jesus changes us, that change should impact everything we do and everything we are. If the things we do, the things we think, or the things we say aren’t in line with this new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) then those areas of our life need to change as well.

These changes can lead us to some difficult choices. Can we work in the same field, with the same people, or for the same company or are there places of business so out of alignment with the Gospel that I just can’t stay? Can I treat my family and friends the same or have I found in my personal life great sins in need of repentance and redemption? Jesus warns us in Matthew10:37 that we will need to make these very choices: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Love of family, friends, and neighbors are not necessarily in conflict with our love for Christ. It is only when family, friends, neighbors, politics, careers, hobbies or anything else keep us from walking in the light that the conflict arises. Jesus’s words are clear and plain: following Christ is costly. (Luke 14:25-33).

This morning, we’ll look at Nehemiah chapter 5 and see how alack of transformation in some parts of life leads to more suffering. Nehemiah’s remedy, as we’ve seen time and again in this series, begins with prayer. Once he learned of the suffering, Nehemiah’s actions show us that we can’t be who God wants us to be if we don’t allow God to work on the whole person. We need to have transformed hearts and minds (Rom. 122), and we need to love with more than just words (1 John 3:18).

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Building and Rebuilding: Nehemiah 4

This morning, we’ll revisit the topic of “context.” When we think about “context”, maybe a few different ideas come to mind. The first thought might be that we want to be careful about reading just one verse when we study. Bible verses might seem to have a range of meanings and the surrounding verses, even up to the book you are studying, will help you narrow down that meaning.

That one verse might contain the key idea of the passage or it might be spoken by a voice in opposition to the Gospel so another aspect of context is knowing who is speaking, and who they are speaking to. You’ll also want to know when a verse was written. For instance, you may not be sure if a prophecy is fulfilled in Christ already or if there is still a future fulfillment that could take place. Many Hebrew prophets will speak about both the coming of Jesus but also about the Day of the Lord.

Much more could be said, but the kind of context we are talking about today is less about studying itself and more about application. When I study, I want to not only consider the context of a passage, but I want to ask, “Where in my life do I see this passage?” or “Where do I see myself in this passage?” Am I the soldier that forces the subject to go with me one mile, or am I the servant that goes two (Matthew 5:41)? Am I the servant that sends others to prison for their unpaid debts or am I one that will forgive a debt (Matthew 18:21-35)? Trying to understand my context will help me see if I am more like the rich man or more like Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

This morning, we’ll take a look at a few passages that show that context changes. God will take His servants and use them in ways maybe they didn’t plan for or feel prepared for. But God has prepared you to accomplish His purposes. Sometimes you might feel like you’re “taken out of your context” when God wants to use you in new ways. It might make us feel like a fish out of water, but God’s plans for us will not fail (Isaiah 55:11).

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Nehemiah Chapter 2: Keep on Building

    This week, we’ll continue our study of Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s perseverance really inspires me. He saw a problem, he prayed about, and then he did something about it. There are a lot of problems in this world. There is injustice, crime, and poverty. There is sadness, loneliness, and depression. There is hate, evil, and rage. None of these things are desirable, but they are here. None of these things are sought after, sacrificed for, or cherished but there are here. The things we long for, strive for, and sacrifice for seem so out of reach. We desire peace, mercy, justice, and righteousness but sometimes all we see is misery.

    Nehemiah saw past the problems of his current situation and took steps to make changes. When all we see is darkness, we will blind ourselves to the light. But when we ask, seek, and knock the Lord will open our eyes and not only give us the direction, but also give us the will to act to fulfill his good purpose (Phil 2:12-13). Prayer is a powerful tool. We can accept the situation we are in or we can reject the promises of the world. The world promises us riches, fame, and glory in exchange for our soul. Christ frees us and forgives us of our past sin and gives us riches and glory beyond what we can imagine (1 Cor 2:9).

    Let us then pray that the strength of Christ be in us. Let us pray that the Spirit’s promises made through Paul in Philippians 2 will be fulfilled in our lives. Let us pray that we have eyes to see like Nehemiah, who saw not only injustice but a path to justice. Who saw not only despair but a path to rejoicing. Who saw not only evil but also love.

       How will God use us to make the world a better place? Where are the opportunities I’m blind to? Open my eyes Lord, and give me the strength I need to always be following after you!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Planning for Success

This morning starting at 9:30 -- "Does God Want Me to be Happy?"
This morning starting at 10:30 -- "Keys to Success, Asking the Right Questions"
Hope you can join us!