Dear Friends,

This summer we are doing a 12 week series called “Deeper Meditating on God’s Word”. Each week we look at one or two verses, digging deep into their meaning. One of the great things about this series is that it encourages you to memorize the scripture and meditate on it. Another great feature of this series is that it makes it easy for several of us to take part in preaching. Over the next few weeks Daniel Avitan, Daniel Gilman, Jonathan Camiré and Shaun Turner will all open the word for us. Please pray for them.

Here are the scripture texts in order that we will memorize and meditate upon:

Ephesians 2:8-10, Philippians 4: 6-7, Colossians 1:28-29, 1 Peter 2:9-10, 1 John 4:10, Proverbs 3:5-6, and 1 Corinthians 10:13.

You can go online to our website and see the verses that we have already covered, including the verse I cover today, Colossians 3:13. Please pray for me and the other preachers as we prepare and as we preach.

In the fall we’re going to return to our regular custom of preaching through whole books of the Bible. I believe it is good for a church if we look at books in both the Old and New Testaments every year. So in the fall we’re going to look at two short Old Testament books. First up will be Ruth. We will probably start this book on September 9th, 2018 and go through it in 4-5 weeks. Then we will look at the book of Esther and go through it in 7-9 weeks. Please pray for me over the next month or so as I pray and think through how to divide the two books up. Pray also as I think of a series title and as Jenny and others come up with a graphic to go along with the sermon series.

Ruth and Esther are both historical books. The book of Ruth tells a story that takes place during the time of the Judges, when Israel had no King and the people seemed to be drifting further and further from the Lord. It is a story of friendship, courtship, fidelity to the Lords commands and ultimately of redemption. Ruth emerges at the end as the great Grandmother of David, Israel’s greatest King. It was through David’s line that Jesus Messiah would be born.

Esther is a story that takes place centuries later. The period of Israel’s kings has come to an end the nation has been conquered by the pagans. The temple has been destroyed. The story of Esther takes place far from the Promised Land among the exiles and captives in Babylon. It is the story of an emperor who cannot stand to have his slightest whim denied; of women forced into harems; of racism; of genocide; of God appearing to be absent; and through it all, of God’s strong hand of love hidden in the shadows. It is a story of courage and risk in the face of grave danger. Most of all of God’s care amidst the chaos.

Pray that I do not preach like a Rabbi. This is not to put down Rabbi’s! What I mean is that I preach the text like a Christian. Pray that I can bring out both how the Gospel helps us to understand each book, and also, how each book helps us to understand the Gospel. The person and work of Christ offered to rebels far from God, to make us right with God, is the key to understanding the Bible. So pray I can preach to the heart
opening the text up and also making the Gospel plain!