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A House of Cards (Esther 1)

The book of Esther has been considered a challenging book for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that we never read the name of God in this book. From its surface it appears to be a Godless book. But if we understand the historical context of the book, we will see why God’s name is lacking from its pages which sets us up for understanding what God is going to teach to those who read it. Charles Dickens famously opens A Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The book of Esther essentially opens with, “It was just the worst of times.” The first few verses of the book set the time as around 486-465 BC in Persia. About one hundred years earlier, the people of Israel were attacked, killed, and taken captive by the Babylonian Empire because the people had rejected the Lord. About fifty years earlier the Persian Empire came to power by conquering the Babylonian Empire. It is at this time that Persia is the great world power. Persia’s rule extends from Africa to Asia at this time (Esther 1:1) and the king over the empire at this time is Ahasuerus (1:1). However, that is his Hebrew name. You know him more famously by his Persian name as Xerxes the Great…

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When You Need Courage (Acts 4:1-31)

We are going to spend the next three weeks on our Sunday mornings looking at how we can have an unstoppable faith like we see the apostles and the first century Christians having. We are in Acts 4 which is a continuation of the events in Acts 3. In Acts 3 Jesus has given perfect health to this lame man through the hands of the apostles, Peter and John. This has been the opportunity for Peter and John to preach in the temple courts that Jesus has risen from the dead and is given to the people so that he can bless them by turning from their wickedness (3:26)…

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The Ripple of Sin (1 Kings 11-12)

We live in a time when the defense of sin is that we are not hurting anyone. What does it matter if we do what we want if we are not hurting anyone? This is the new justification for living how we want to live and committing whatever sins we want to commit. I want us to turn in our copies of God’s word to 1 Kings 11 because we are going to see the ripple effect of sin. In 1 Kings 11 Solomon has rejected the ways of the Lord. Chapters 10-11 of 1 Kings reveal that Solomon broke every command that had been given to the kings to keep. Further, the Lord directly told Solomon not to go after other gods. But he did it anyway (1 Kings 11:9-10)…

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Hope After Failure

Our theme for 2021 is Hope Starts Here. After a year like 2020 we could use some hope as we go forward. Hopeless is a tough word and yet who has not felt some degree of hopelessness in their lives? Life can feel hopeless. We will speak about a hopeless situation. Without hope, life devolves into depression and despair. So God gives us pictures of hope so that we will never fall into despair. Lord willing, throughout the year we are going to cover a number of situations where God gives us hope to get through our hardship. For this month we are going to look at how to have hope after failure. There used to be a science television show called Mythbusters where they tried out all kinds of myths and stories to see if they were true. One of my favorite lines from the show that was marked all over the set was, “Failure is always an option.” This is certainly true when it comes to following Jesus. I want to turn our attention to someone who dramatically failed in following Jesus and his name is the apostle Peter. Open your copies of God’s word to John 21…

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