Sep 6, 2015
Rebuilding the Walls
GodisSpeakingDSOur story today opens nearly 60 years after Zerubbabel led 43,000 exiles carrying temple treasures, gold and silver back to Judah to rebuild the temple, and 15 years after Esther saved the Jews. As at all times in history, some people had hearts fully set on God, and some didn’t – including, and even, those Jews who returned to Jerusalem. So God sent three people with very different gifts to help and strengthen those in the Persian province of Judah who wanted to know Him. Ezra taught, Nehemiah built, and Malachi exhorted. In all cases, God responded.
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  • Sep 6, 2015Rebuilding the Walls
    Sep 6, 2015
    Rebuilding the Walls
    GodisSpeakingDSOur story today opens nearly 60 years after Zerubbabel led 43,000 exiles carrying temple treasures, gold and silver back to Judah to rebuild the temple, and 15 years after Esther saved the Jews. As at all times in history, some people had hearts fully set on God, and some didn’t – including, and even, those Jews who returned to Jerusalem. So God sent three people with very different gifts to help and strengthen those in the Persian province of Judah who wanted to know Him. Ezra taught, Nehemiah built, and Malachi exhorted. In all cases, God responded.
  • Aug 30, 2015The Queen of Beauty and Courage
    Aug 30, 2015
    The Queen of Beauty and Courage
    GodisSpeakingDSIn Las Vegas you can roll “lucky sevens,” or you can also lose it all. You can win a massive windfall or experience colossal disaster. It all seems like coincidence, just the roll of the dice. In the Book of Esther, it seems like the destiny of the Jews is subject to the roll of the dice. But we discover that even though His name is not mentioned in the whole Book of Esther, God is working behind the scenes to fulfill His grand, saving purpose. Knowing this, we can take heart believing that even when God seems distant, unconcerned, or even absent in our lives, He is still at work. God is always working!
  • Aug 23, 2015The Return Home
    Aug 23, 2015
    The Return Home
    GodisSpeakingDSDo you know the feeling of getting back home after an extended time away – either for work or vacation, it doesn’t matter - the feeling is the same! It is so good to get back to your comfortable surroundings with familiar things. Even the not-so-nice things like loose doorknobs, squeaky stairs and weeds in the garden comfort you. The Bible tells of a number of “homecomings.” The prodigal son, the adulterous woman, and the people of Israel know this feeling of coming back home. So do we. Today in The Story, we see the people of Israel are invited back to their home in the Promise Land by God. When they get there, they see the nice things of home, but they also see a not-so-nice thing: There is no temple in Jerusalem. Their exile isn’t over yet. No homecoming is complete without the presence of God.
  • Aug 16, 2015Daniel in Exile
    Aug 16, 2015
    Daniel in Exile
    GodisSpeakingDSEarlier in the Old Testament, we read about Joseph, one of Jacob’s twelve sons who was sold into slavery (by his own brothers!) and became a prisoner in a foreign land. Far from home, with no one he knew that would see or critique him, Joseph led a life of staggering integrity. Fast forward to Daniel and three other young men from Judah who have been exiled in the capital city of their sworn enemies and captors. They were in a place where “no one was looking.” They could compromise and cut corners and no one would ever know … except God. Our culture invites and encourages us to compromise too, but like Daniel living in exile, we live by a higher authority.
  • Aug 9, 2015The Kingdoms’ Fall
    Aug 9, 2015
    The Kingdoms’ Fall
    GodisSpeakingDSHas God ever asked you to do something you didn’t want to do? He sure did this to the prophet Jeremiah. He told him to stand in the rubble of Jerusalem and weep. This was hard for him to do, not only because it represented the fall of the capital city of God’s chosen people and the temple of God, but because the people still refused to listen to him! Hard and stubborn hearts often know no other way. Sound familiar in our day? Yet in this we learn something else about our God. He still has the power to give an abundance of undeserved grace and mercy, even after The Kingdoms' Fall…
  • Aug 2, 2015The Beginning of the End
    Aug 2, 2015
    The Beginning of the End
    GodisSpeakingDSWhat if the U.S.A. had kings instead of presidents? Some suggest that George Washington was asked to be a kind of “king” of America following the Revolutionary War. He, however, rejected the offer following a popular sentiment and motto among colonists, “No king but King Jesus.” God’s people in Israel should have had a motto like that: “No king but King God.” They however, wanted human kings – who got the nation into a heap of trouble. The nation split into two smaller, weaker nations, and during the time of the divided kingdom there were 38 kings in all. All but a handful of those kings were wicked and did evil in the sight of the Lord. They failed to lead their subjects to honor the One True God, and because of it the nation suffered.
  • Jul 26, 2015God’s Messengers
    Jul 26, 2015
    God’s Messengers
    GodisSpeakingDSWe pick up The Story in chapter 15 or the Book of 2 Kings. Because the Bible is arranged topically and not chronologically, many people will enter “the black hole” of their Bibles at this point. The Old Testament books are arranged as history, poetry and prophecy. It’s at this point that the story seems to get jumbled up and further confused by the division of God’s people into two kingdoms—10 tribes called Israel in the north and two tribes in the south called Judah. We will see that this divided Kingdom leads to much unfaithfulness in the land. God sends messengers – the prophets, but they are ignored. God's people continue to disobey. Despite this tension, God, as He always does, remains active and faithful.
  • Jul 19, 2015What’s on the Other Side?
    Jul 19, 2015
    What’s on the Other Side?
    UntitledEvery culture in our world has an overarching "cultural narrative." This means that people groups of all time and places seek to answer some of the most important questions about life. They strive to describe how and where we can find meaning, purpose, and value in our lives. A large part of any culture is the "narrative," or the answers to questions like, "Why are we here?" "Why do bad things happen?" "What is truth?" and "What will happen when I die?" In popular new movies like "Interstellar," Hollywood seeks to enter this narrative. Filmmakers postulate in a manner of speaking answers to these questions. Movies, however, are so advanced and convincing today that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. We must remember that these are stories based on imagination. Yet, in reality, these questions still remain. So how can we find answers to these meaningful questions of life with any confidence and hope?
  • Jul 12, 2015God’s Incredible People of Faith
    Jul 12, 2015
    God’s Incredible People of Faith
    UntitledThis last week at Vacation Bible School, the children considered what it took to be a "Superstar." They learned that it is not fame, riches, or even natural ability that make a person "super" in God's eyes. They learned that we are all made special and unique by God, and that He loves us no matter what we accomplish .... even if we stumble and fail. They learned that what makes us "super" to God is our faith in His Son Jesus, who died to take away our sins. Today as we consider some "Incredible" heroes of the Bible, may we recognize that what is truly amazing is that God has restored us to Himself, so that we can be in a relationship with Him. May we come today to worship our almighty and "incredible" God!
  • Jul 5, 2015Faith of Our Fathers
    Jul 5, 2015
    Faith of Our Fathers
    UntitledToday as we celebrate our nation's freedom and independence, we recognize that our freedom comes at a cost. Many fought ... and now still do fight ... to protect the freedom with which we are so accustomed. But what is freedom for? We could contend that the greatest cause for freedom is to allow the unfettered spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, that is perhaps the foundational freedom on which our country was built! But what about today? What can we as the Church do to use our freedoms in a God pleasing way?
  • Jun 28, 2015Meet the Robinsons: Keep Moving Forward
    Jun 28, 2015
    Meet the Robinsons: Keep Moving Forward
    UntitledGod, Our Heavenly Father continues to bless our lives today. As redeemed children of God, we are destined to live with Him forever. He calls us to forgive and not to be bitter. He teaches us to recognize how sin can progress and destroy our lives. He equips us to persevere and to keep moving forward.
  • Jun 7, 2015Spiderman: The End of Revenge
    Jun 7, 2015
    Spiderman: The End of Revenge
    UntitledToday as we kick off our “God on Film” message series, we delve right in to a very serious topic – revenge. Revenge is serious, because in reality, it represents a failure to forgive. In view of Scripture’s teaching concerning forgiveness it seems that the stubborn, persistent refusal to forgive others is evidence of a blind and hardened heart which lacks a real understanding of and faith in God’s forgiveness in Christ (from the LCMS.org FAQ’s). For us to understand revenge then, we must understand forgiveness. As we prepare ourselves for worship today, may we ask God to prepare our hearts to understand the depth and breadth of His forgiveness for us in Christ – and to receive that forgiveness of sins in our sharing of the Lord’s Supper today.
  • May 31, 2015A Kingdom Torn in Two
    May 31, 2015
    A Kingdom Torn in Two
    GBUThey say “things happen in threes.” Have you heard that? Today in the church calendar is Trinity Sunday – where we celebrate that we have one God in three distinct persons – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. As the Athanasian Creed states – not three gods, but one God! Because of this mystery of the Trinity, three is considered a significant number in the Bible. This is perhaps the root of some of the intrigue with the number three. In The Story we have just finished the period of the united kingdom of Israel. For this period of approximately 120 years, Israel was united under three successive kings. But following that third monarch - Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was torn in two. Even in the midst of this foolish behavior, however, God remains faithful to His people.
  • May 24, 2015The Kind Who Had It All
    May 24, 2015
    The Kind Who Had It All
    GBUThe King Who Had It All learned that nothing of this world could fulfill God’s role in his life. Don’t you often wonder what life would be like if you had more? “More what,” you ask? More ANYTHING! For some it’s more money … for others more time … for others more prestige or influence. You name it, and we think it will make us happy –even content. But one man who had all of those – literally – discovered that they each were their own dead end. He learned that nothing in this world can satisfy the longings of the heart. He also learned that nothing in this world is as important as what we do to bring God glory. To do that, however, requires that we surrender ourselves to His will.
  • May 17, 2015The Trials of a King
    May 17, 2015
    The Trials of a King
    GBUhe pattern of the Chosen People Israel in response to their sin was to sacrifice. A sacrifice was an atonement for sin a payment for a debt owed. God desired a repentant heart. Repentance requires humility. Through repentance we humble ourselves before God. Saul and David are quite a contrast in their responses to their sins. This morning we will reflect on our response to our sinful lives, answer God’s call to repentance and trust in the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus.