Sunday, July 22, 2007

(Re)Build: Stronger - Ezra 9-10

When a fault is found in the foundation of a building project, work is immediately stopped and the problem is removed. When sin appears in our lives we tend to not do the same thing. We go on living, trying our best to pretend that nothing has happened. If this goes on too long we lose our hatred of sin, we cease to be aware of its damaging effects and we wonder what could have caused the problems in our lives. When the Israelites returned from exile to rebuild the Temple, they knew they had to get rid of the sin in their midst that had been plaguing them for generations. If we are to rebuild our relationships with God, we must rid ourselves of the sin that has weakened that relationship in the past. It is not enough just to rebuild, we must ReBuild Stronger than before.
  • Confront
  • Contrite - Isaiah 66:2b
    • Appalled at our sin - Ezra 9:3-4
    • Bothered by its impact - 9:7
    • Concerned for a future with sin - 9:14
  • Confess - 1 John 1:9
    • Admit we did wrong - 10:2
    • Blame only ourselves -
    • Call on God for Forgiveness
  • Control - Hebrews 10:22
    • Actions - 10:3
    • Conscience
    • Bow to God as Lord

Sunday, July 15, 2007

(Re)Build: Despite the Opposition - Ezra 4-6

There is something sad about an unfinished building. So much promise and hard work that will never reach its full potential. Does God feel the same way looking at our lives? What gets in the way of our efforts to build a relationship with God? What can we do to overcome these obstacles? And why are they there in the first place?

  • Opposition
    • Comes looking for us - Ezra 4:1-4
    • Can hinder us, but not stop us - Ezra 4:5, 24
  • Building Despite Opposition
    • God's Word and God's People - Ezra 5:1-2
    • Always Do the Right Thing - Ezra 5:8-10
  • Opposition Becomes Opportunity - Ezra 6:8-10
    • James 1:2 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

(Re)Build: From the Ground Up - Ezra 3

Did you ever feel like you work and work, but never get anywhere? You do the right things, but the person doing the wrong things is the one who prospers. You try to pray, but it seems useless. If you've felt this way, you aren't alone. This is something that happens in the lives of many (all) Christians. It happens when we neglect our foundation. Over time, our Biblical, God-centered basis can develop cracks where sin pushes its way in and deteriorates what God has built. Patching this isn't the solution. We need to rebuild, from the ground up - putting God first and obeying Him, despite the cost.
  • Recognize what is broken - Haggai 1:6 ...You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it...
  • Restructure your foundation
    • Worship First - Ezra 3:2 ...began to build the altar and sacrifice offerings on it...
    • Build Despite Fear - Ezra 3:3 ...despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built...
  • Rejoice in what God is Beginning - Ezra 3:11 ...with praise and thanksgiving they sang...
    • God Only Upgrades! - Ezra 3:12 ...many who had seen the former temple wept...