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On this Communion Sunday we are reminded of the reasons why we follow Jesus' instruction to come to the Lord's table (Matthew 26:26-29).  The table is a place of fellowship and identification, a place to remember Jesus' sacrifice for us and a place of restoration.  

 

 

 

God originally designed work as a good thing.  People were designed and set apart to reflect God through work and rest, just as He did when He created the earth.  This assignment of work occurred before the Fall according to Genesis 1:28 and 2:15.  Unfortunately, this gift can be corrupted because of our sin by either negative attitudes and work ethics or our work can become an idol.  As Jesus makes all things new, we can approach our work as God intended it.  The challenge for us:  remember to pray for our work; reclaim the purpose of our work; and resolve to honour the Lord in and through our work.

Continuing with the "Hard Wired" series, the message today focuses on relationships.  The first and most important is our relationship with God.  Scripture reminds us that God created us to know Him and see His glory; He loves us; and He cares about us.  In different circumstances, our relationship with God can be easier than with those who surround us, especially those why may be challenging to love. Nevertheless, we must pursue meaningful relationships, prioritize them and protect and steward them well.  

Imaging God

Guest speaker Dr. David Guretzki shares insights into the what it means for us to have been created in God's own image (Genesis 1:26-27).  After outlining the three main theories of what it means, he talks about what, based in scripture, we need to know.  The conclusion: we are specifically loved by the Father to be his crown; called by Jesus to be his ambassadors; and equipped by the Spirit to be like Jesus.  

Today and over the next few weeks, we will be looking into God's design for different areas of our lives.  Last week, our guest speaker, Ryan Gideon, talked about His design for our minds; today, we are looking at His design for our bodies and will explore why our bodies matter in the context of our relationship with Him.  From 1 Corinthians 18-20 and Romans 12:1, we learn that:  our bodies matter; they are part of our worship; whatever their condition they will one day be restored; in the church context, we are "the body"; and finally, Christ's body was broken for us.  

 

Drawing from Romans 12, guest speaker, Ryan Gideon, talks about God's design for us, and in particular how He has designed our minds to serve and revere Him.  The phases when we embrace a Christ-centred world are: first yielding, then transformation, followed by renewal of our minds, becoming Christlike, becoming empowered and then victorious.  These stages repeat themselves throughout our faith journey. 

This series concludes with a reading and study of Esther Chapters 9 and 10.  On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain mastery over them, the reverse occurred, both in Susa and throughout the Kingdom.  Mordecai received even higher honours from the King.  The Jews declared that their victory should be remembered always.  What does this accounting teach us?  First, God uses broken and imperfect people to accomplish His good purposes; second, He has us right where we are for such a time as this; and thirdly, He is always the real hero to remember and celebrate.

 

In Chapter 8 of Esther, the Queen once more approaches the King.  Having succeeded in revealing Haman's treachery, she now pleads for a means to save her people from the destruction ordered by Haman.  The King bestows upon Mordecai the rank and honours previously enjoyed by Haman and allows him to deal with the Queen's request as he deems appropriate.  Mordecai issues a new edict that would allow the Jews to defend themselves if attacked.  This reversal brings great joy and gladness amongst the Jews throughout the kingdom and causes many others to declare themselves Jews, for fear of them.  What do we draw from this chapter?  Persevere in praying and pleading for others; remember our position of victory in Christ; and praise God for His transformational power and love.  

In the Book of Esther Chapter 7, Esther reveals her faith and courage - faith as evidenced by her own fast and her call on her people to do the same and courage by the decision to reveal her heritage to the King and to accept the King's invitation to disclose her greatest wish by attacking the powerful Haman.  In this same Chapter, Haman's scheming nature and betrayal of the King's trust come to light.  Enraged, the King has him hanged on the gallows that ironically Haman had built and meant for Mordecai.  This chapter encourages us to take risks for the kingdom; to confront evil and not conceal our own sin; to believe that God's justice prevails; and to believe that God's wrath has been satisfied through Jesus.   

Chapter 6 of the Book of Esther opens on the evening of the same day as Haman decided to hang Mordecai the next morning.  Unable to sleep that night, the King reviews his chronicles and is reminded of Mordecai's heroism a few years earlier.   The next morning, Haman arrives at the court to seek permission to proceed with the hanging.  Before he can do so, the King asks for his advice on what should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.  Thinking in his arrogance that the King could only be referring to himself, Haman suggests a powerful display, procession and proclamation in the square of the city.  He is shocked to discover that instead of himself, the King delights in honoring Mordecai. Worse, Haman must implement the plan for Mordecai that he intended for himself.  The Chapter closes with Haman coming to the realization that his and Mordecai's fortunes may reverse.  This chapter provides us with a powerful example and reminder of God's timing.  

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