Preparing the Way for the Lord
November 25, 2018 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
The final message of the book of Nehemiah is one of celebration. Specifically, for the people of Israel, this celebration was in the form of a worship of dedication of the wall. Key things we can learn from this dedication are that these: that dedications are intended to assign a purpose to something, that everyone is included and all people's gifts are required, and that joy is a vital part of the dedication. It is all in great celebration what God is doing as He brings in His Kingdom. And if what God is doing, if God's mission in the world, is worth celebrating, then it is a mission that we should indeed be dedicated to.
November 18, 2018 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Nehemiah 9 tells us about a special Day of Confession that the people of God participated in following all the various religious feasts and ceremonies that are laid out for them in the law for the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. Most notably, this Day of Confession took place two weeks after the Day of Atonement, on which the sins of the people were atoned for by way of two special goats. It is only when we know that our sins have been atoned for that we can feel free to confess them. And so a prayer was offered confessing all the sins of Israel. It was a prayer that teaches us how to walk humbly with God and includes elements of exalting God for His creation, praising God for His salvation, confessing our sin and unworthiness, thanking God for His mercy, and finally, vowing our commitment to God.
November 4, 2018 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
In Nehemiah 8 we learn that it is not enough to build the walls for a community, but that the community itself that resides and worships within those walls must also be built, and that only happens when God's Word is the foundation. God's Word must be the foundation for everyone -- men, women and children alike. It is a foundation that has to be respected as the very words of God spoken directly to us. And God's Word is also a foundation that needs to be understood and responded to, as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in our hearts. Is this the foundation we are laying for our church community?
September 30, 2018 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
This message begins a series of sermons from the book of Nehemiah about the rebuilding of the fallen walls of Jerusalem, which was really all part of preparing the way for our Lord, Jesus Christ. The news about the wall that comes to Nehemiah while he is in Susa is not good, but Nehemiah prays and the bad news is turned to good news when Artexerxes gives generous permission to Nehemiah and Nehemiah takes great risk to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem to secretly survey the walls and then is able to proceed with confidence in the rebuilding, assured that God will grant him success because he understands that this is all part God's plan of salvation for the world.