Today Pastor Ben Libby joins Neal Radichel to study the Old Testament prophecy of Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk is unique in that he brings questions to God about what He is doing with His people and the the peoples around them and God's responses to Habakkuk. It is more personal in nature than the other prophets. Habakkuk's question is "Why?" but he patiently waits to hear the LORD's answer and to be corrected by the LORD. The final chapter is a song of praise, or a prayer of Habakkuk which accepts the LORD's answer and emphasizes the LORD's characteristics of omnipotence, righteous judgment, and salvation. There is much that we can learn from Habakkuk's example in our own lives as we place our confidence in the Lord's will. What a wonderful reminder!
Who are the Magi and what do they have to do with Christmas? Pastor Mark Tiefel tells us that the word magi is related to our English word "magic" although it is not like the magic we think of today. The magi or wise men were students of many different subjects and sometimes even had "super"natural abilities. Think of the examples of Joseph or Daniel in the Old Testament and the God-given ability to interpret dreams. In fact the magi may have been influenced by the "ministry" of Daniel in Babylon centuries before who shared the truth of the coming Savior while he was in that foreign land. The magi knew about the coming of the Savior, and seeing His star, traveled many mile to worship the Savior sent by God. The account of the magi reminds us that God's Word is intended to bring hope and comfort to all people, which is one of the main themes of the season of Epiphany.
"The LORD roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem; The pastures of the shepherds mourn, And the top of Carmel withers." This is the opening verse of the prophet Amos, and it sets the tone for the rest of the message of repentance that God issued against His nation of Northern Israel. Join Pastor Tom Nauman and Ben Libby as they look at the prophetic burden of Amos. God announces His judgment on the people's Idolatry, yet the Gospel light of restoration is found at the end of the book. Amos has a message that relates especially well for us today. Join us for a study into God's Holy Word!
Pastor Mark Tiefel defines the word "admonition" as it is used in Scripture and the importance of it in our lives. This is not a popular word in our world today, but the word has the idea of giving information to correct or change our lives for the better (from God's perspective). This is one of the priorities which God has given to parents in raising their children, just as God does for us. This is viewed as arrogant in our society, but something that God does to us and we do for one another in love. God instructs us through the hearing and reading of His Word. As Christians, God has called us to admonish one another in love, it is part of our calling as His children and our faithful witness of our Savior.
Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew dig into the prophecies of Micah in the Old Testament. Micah is familiar because of his prophecy of the location of the birth of the Savior which we hear at this time of year, but outside of that, most people know very little about this minor prophet. Micah lived at the same time as Isaiah, just before the destruction of the nation of Israel and was sent by the Lord to both Israel and Judah, to call them to repentance. He would even see the nation of Israel destroyed by the Assyrians, and would use that as a lesson for the people of Judah. Micah also shows that when a nation rejects the true God (theology) their actions decay (morality). You can have no true morality without true theology. While the main message is one of Law and God's judgment against sin, there is also a message for God's remnant people that He will save them. There is more to this book then the prediction of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It is deep and rich. Join us as we study it!
In our Christmas Day Word of the Week, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew takes a look at the Biblical doctrine of the "Virgin Birth." This doctrine has been doubted and opposed throughout the history of Christianity, but is CLEARLY taught in both the Old and the New Testaments. A close look at the birth accounts recorded in Luke (to Mary) and Matthew (to Joseph) reveal that there was no doubt that the conception of Jesus was a miracle seen in the fact that Mary was indeed a virgin. This is also prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah (7:14). Thanks be to God for His gift of a Savior who was both True God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and True Man, born of the Virgin Mary! It is this truth that makes Christmas a gift from God!
At first glace the religion of Zoroastrianism may look similar to Christianity, but as Pastors Mark Tiefel and Nathanael Mayhew will point out, there are some critical differences between the two that make these two as different as night and day. Dating back to the 6th Century B.C. and about the time of the Babylonian Captivity of God's Old Testament people, Zoroastrianism gets its beginning in Persia, or what is now Iran. They point out how Zoroaster draws from some of the polytheistic religions of the area as well as Judaism to develop this new religion featuring Ahura Mazda and the divine center of the religion. Some of the key features which distinguish Zoroastrianism from Christianity are dualism and the means of salvation. They will dig into these differences at length and show how the foundational tenets of Zoroastrianism are alive and well in our world today and are something we as Christians should be familiar with and prepared to answer. Join us for our study!
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World we return to a Name of Jesus: Only Begotten. This term in Greek mean "unique" or "unparalleled" and describes the relationship with another. It is only used 9 times in the New Testament and 5 times to describe Jesus and His relationship with the Father. It is used twice in John 1, twice in John 3 and once in 1 John. There are two important truths that we learn from these references. 1) Because Jesus has this unique relationship with the Father, He is able to be our Savior. 2) We should believe in Jesus because of who He is. Without faith, we are condemned, but through faith we receive the salvation He has come to win. What more important Christmas message is there, than Jesus is the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father who came to deliver us from sin and death? A blessed Christmas to you as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the only-begotten Son of the Father!
"The Day of the LORD" is near! A coming plague of locusts! Join Pastor Ben Libby and Joe Nauman as they dig into the prophetic words of the Prophet Joel who was sent to God's Old Testament people at a very wicked time in their history. God announces His judgment on their sin, but also offers a message of promise and hope to those who will repent and return to Him. The words of Joel have application in our lives still today as well, because the Day of the LORD is coming for us too!