In this series we look at a couple of books from the Old Testament called Ezra and Nehemiah. At first glance they seem obscure and very very distance from life today. A quick skim through the books and you’ll see that God is focussing on a small group of people and giving them the task to renovate a small dilapidated and demolished site of the temple in Jerusalem. During this series we will see that these ‘distant’ books are God’s word to us today, and given by God to us in order to make a difference in our lives today. We’ll see that God shows the world, initially through Israel and a patch of land in Palestine and its demolition site, that he is a renovating God and has a plan to renovate the lives of many across the entire world. We’ll find that even today God is doing this work and gives us an invitation to be part of his people, and gets us to don on the hard hat to be one of his builders on God’s Block.
Talk 1 – Ezra 1-2
We live in a world of chaos and confusion. Wars, protests, sickness, death are all around. Two questions: What is God doing in our world today? Where is God’s focus in our world today? This morning we are going to hear God’s answers to those two important questions. But the answers will come from a surprising place, a little known book from the Old Testament called Ezra.
Talk 2 – Ezra 3
Life today can be so busy! We are pulled in so many different directions with so many competing priorities. What priorities does God want us to have? How do we re-align our lives to God and his purposes? Just as God challenges the priorities of his people back in 535BC, God will also challenge our priorities as his people today.
Talk 3 – Ezra 4-6
How do we know we are putting first things first? Today we look at Ezra 4-6 which highlights some of the evidences that should accompany those that have put building God’s Kingdom as their number one priority.
Talk 4 – Ezra 7-10
There are a few passages in the Bible that on the surface of it seem outrageous to our modern ears. Yet, once I we listen closely we see that God’s Word is just what we need to hear.
Talk 5 – Nehemiah 1-2
Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1 is a wonderful model to us, and the 2 chapters together show us how prayerful dependence and wise pragmatism work together in God’s unfolding purposes.
Talk 6 – Nehemiah 3-6
As we reflect on the work God had for his people back then it helps us to reflect on the work God has for his people today. The challenge for each of us: will we give ourselves wholeheartedly to the great work of God in our world!
Talk 7 – Nehemiah 7-8
With the temple and walls rebuilt during the time Nehemiah, what is the critical element to have at the centre to stay on task with building God’s kingdom today?
Talk 8 – Nehemiah 9-10
How do we respond appropriately to God’s word? It is a question of worship. Do we respond with grief?, joy?, praise? confession?, resolve? The people around Nehemiah show us what worship entails.
Talk 9 – Nehemiah 13
The end of Nehemiah’s book is not a Happy Ending. In spite of many blessings and in spite of Nehemiah’s sterling leadership, the reformation of the Jews fails. Is our situation any different? Who can we look to to bring about deep and lasting change? Have we any hope of a Happy Ending ourselves?