Dan 4 Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Universe, was the greatest king of his time. He was a warrior who conquered all rivals, and a builder who made Babylon great. But he needed to learn an important truth: he might be ruler on earth, but Heaven rules. The proud king was humbled until he learnt this. God has appointed as the true King of kings one who humbled himself to begin with. The Lion that conquered is the Lamb that was slain.
Dan 3 “If” is a powerful word. It is used a lot in computer code. It is the title of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling. It is a word that can arouse possibilities or longings or fear. At the heart of Daniel 3 lie two sets of “if…if not” clauses, one posed by Nebuchadnezzar, the other in the reply of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. In the face of “if…if not” and the threat of the fiery furnace, the three Jewish friends dared to have a purpose true.
Dan 2 Throughout history kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen. Long live the king! But no human king lives forever nor does his dynasty. No matter how eternal an empire thinks it will be, it is destined to fall. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream of an enormous statue representing a sequence of empires, and of a stone that smashes the statue into non-existence, then grows to fill the earth. What is the meaning of the statue and the stone? Please read Daniel 2 before Sunday, since it’s a long chapter and there won’t be time to read it during the service.
Dan 1 The number of forcibly displaced people in the world has more than doubled in the past ten years and now stands at 82.4 million. Forced displacement is nothing new: 2600 years ago much of Jerusalem was displaced to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Among them were Daniel and his three friends. Could they flourish in a strange land that did not acknowledge the Lord? Can we flourish today where the Lord is not acknowledged? We begin a new series in the Book of Daniel, and in the next two months will cover the first seven chapters. Would you please read 2 Kings 23–25 and Daniel 1 to prepare for this Sunday.
Neh 8:1-12 We are coming out of the pandemic and can finally regather as a congregation in the auditorium without capacity limits! Praise God! We are all in the process of understanding the “new-normal” that we are returning to and are slowly changing rhythms and habits of isolation that were established over the past year. God is waiting to freely pour out His joy to us, to strengthen us in our weakness. Expect to be surprised by joy! This week, we’ll be concluding a short 2-sermon series entitled “Return, Rebuild, Rejoice” based on lessons from Nehemiah. As the Israelites returned from their Exile under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra, they came together to Rebuild and to Rejoice. What can we learn from their story and example? Let’s find out together this Sunday.
Nehemiah 3, Ephesians 4:11-13
Hab Life is full of tension. We’ve all experienced our share from the pandemic alone, but real life continued in the midst of it, so we faced other tensions as well. Sometimes the tension can be so great it feels like we’re “hitting a brick wall.” This Sunday we’re going to look at Habakkuk’s faith journey. We’ll see how this Old Testament prophet dealt with incredible tension and how God met him in it. Bring your Bibles on Sunday and let’s see what Habakkuk has to teach us.
Gen 44:1-45:15 This week we come to the final chapter in the long process of reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, where Joseph sets up the third and final test to determine whether his brothers are trustworthy. The first test concerned their honesty and greed. The second test was designed to plumb their ability to accept the inequalities of love. The brothers passed both tests with flying colors. The third and final test is designed to see whether they will exhibit a sacrificial love that will place their father’s interests above their own, and count their brother’s life as more important than their own. In the end, the brothers will “collectively exhibit the virtues of reconciliation have become the kingdom of God, a family fit to rule the world” (Bruce Waltke).
Genesis 43:1-34 When wounds cut deep and family members separate and no longer speak to one another, the work of reconciliation becomes extremely difficult. Last week we left our story of Joseph’s reconciliation with brothers deadlocked in a stalemate between a son in Egypt and a father in Canaan who refused to come to the table. When the head of the home refuses to lead spiritually, what can children do? The text is a masterpiece of God’s grace in the process of reconciliation and serves as a model of how to be a leader for reconciliation, even when you haven’t been given the authoritative role.
Genesis 42:1-38 We live in a world at war and a nation divided. Sadly, the church has often done more to fuel the flames of the fire than to bring understanding and healing. Where are the peacemakers? Who is willing do the hard work of tearing down the walls of division and create conditions necessary for reconciliation? More importantly, who knows what is required before the process can begin? Given the centuries of hate and hostility, how would you ever be able get a Palestinian and a Jew to sit and talk at the same table? Perhaps Joseph can help us begin the process.
Genesis 41:37-52 It’s difficult to imagine how a youth from a despised race (a “Hebrew”) could immediately rise out of a prison cell and be installed as the second in command of the most powerful nation on earth. And yet, this will not be the only time this happens in the Scriptures. Joseph prefigures Moses, Daniel, and ultimately Jesus. And in the broader sense what God intends for all humankind (Psalm 8) redeemed in Christ (Isa 49:7b). You ask, “How can that be?” Come and see.