What opportunity has God given you today to make some progress in your relationship with him? Today, not, “It’s on my to-do list.” Has the Holy Spirit been using the Word to tell you it's time to start reading Scripture, time to start confessing a sin, time to start praying, time to pursue more friendships with godly people, time to serve and use your gifts, time to start reordering your budget and your schedule so that your relationship with God isn't just "personal," but it’s public, time to make worship less about what's convenient and more about what's encouraging to others? When will you start making some progress? In Esther so far two main characters, Mordecai and Esther, have not shown much progress. But in chapter four they both make great progress. You can tell from statements each one makes. We’re here to seek the same progress. May the Spirit bless your attention to his Word.
"Mommy, who is the bad guy?" This is a question one of our younger members asked his mom this week. Have you figured out who the bad guy is in Esther? Do you typically look for the hero and the villain in the stories we read? This week as we read the third chapter of Esther, we see what happens when two people harden their hearts and how disastrous outcomes can follow, yet God is still in control. As you prepare for worship this today, ask yourself—have you ever had a Haman and Mordecai interaction?
Has this ever happened to you? You’re thinking about an old friend that you haven’t seen in years, and then you receive a phone call from him or her a few seconds later. Or you have a sudden, unexplainable urge to visit a place you have never been to, and then you end up meeting the love of your life there. Are such coincidences merely chance, or is there something more at work? To explain such remarkable events, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity—a coincidence in which highly improbable events occur. Jung is a Johnny-come-lately. The Lord God has been teaching his people since the time of Esther and before that he's the one behind those synchronicities. We’re only in week 3 of our series on the book of Esther and we can see hundreds of coincidences that had to occur for Esther to become Queen of Persia . . . to save the Israelites from distinction . . . so Mary and Joseph would one day end up in Bethlehem . . . so Jesus would be born there according to God's promise. Is it synchronicity? Is it coincidence? No. It's God. And he's at work in hidden ways in your life, too. And that’s why we’re here to worship him. Glad you think so, too.
A tale of two kingdoms. No, we won't be studying the Dickens' classic this weekend. The Spirit intends to shape our thoughts and our lives through the second half of Esther, chapter 1. It's set in the 5th century BC, but it might as well be 21st century America. We live in an earthly kingdom, of sorts. But thank God he has brought us into another kingdom and under another king, Jesus. We live in two kingdoms; and It helps to keep them straight. Welcome to worship.