Pastor Jon Cobler Church of Living Water Olympia Foursquare Church

January 15/16 2011 Saturday/Sunday

2011 Word for the Year
TEXT: Ezra 7:10 I. HOW DO WE APPROACH THE NEW YEAR? A. Through the lens of past experiences. ← ← ← ← B. Through the lens of future expectations that God’s promises are secure. ← ← C. If things in the world get more difficult, the Good News looks even better! ← D. You have been called for a purpose! ← II. A LOOK AT THE WORD FOR 2011 A. A quick historical look into our text: 1. The Jews had been deported to Babylon in 606BC. 2. The temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. 3. In 536BC the Jews were permitted to return to Jerusalem. 4. Zerubbabel led the reconstruction of the temple. 5. Ezra returns 60 years after the completion of the temple. 6. The people had wandered away from their God. 7. Ezra comes to restore holiness and purity…a return to their roots. OR


B. A look at Ezra: ← …this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. (Ezra 7:6 ESV) ← 1. ← ← 2. Ezra had the complete backing of the king. Wouldn’t that be a great way to start a project?

C. Why did he have such favor? ←For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezra 7:10 NKJV) 1. Seek • Live • Share ← 2. Church isn’t the only place to find God…but if you’re not coming to church expecting, you need to know that God wants to have a radical encounter with you here. III. THREE CHALLENGES FOR THE CHURCH OF LIVING WATER A. Seek through the challenges. (Don’t Just Respond) Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. (Ezra 8:21–23 NKJV) B. They heard from the Lord and left the city. Then they realized there were bad guys between them and the promise. They didn’t want to ask the king to do something they had already said that God was going to accomplish. 1. “We can request help from a pagan king…” OR 2. “We can put God’s reputation on the line.” God’s Word


C. Our challenge is to resist the easy road of requesting from the king what has already been promised by the Lord. 1. The Word does not say we are exempt from difficult decisions or circumstances. 2. When we face a difficult challenge, before we rely on the help of man, let us seek the Lord and trust His Word. a. Seek Him in devotion. (Prayer // Word // Community // Service // Worship) b. Seeking is an active, rather than responsive, stance. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) 3. We will always face obstacles and challenges which attempt to prohibit us from seeking. a. Weariness b. Disappointment c. Distraction c. Competing priorities B. Live like God’s hand is upon you. … for (because, according to, like) the hand of the Lord his God was on him. (Ezra 7:6 ESV) 1. QUESTION: How would you live differently if the hand of the Lord was on you? 2. Ezra wasn’t arrogant when he went to the king…he was confident that if the hand of the Lord was on him, the rest of the Lord was with him!!! 3. You will struggle to walk like the hand of the Lord is upon you when you’re not seeking the Lord.


4. When we read the promises of God and don’t see them transpire immediately we must conclude the problem is with our eyes, not His promises. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:6–7 ESV) C. Share with intention. 1. Ezra was poised to “pass on” what He had learned. 2. We need to be willing to pass on what we have learned that is praise-worthy about God! 3. If we continue to build on the corner stone of Jesus Christ, the gates of hell do not stand a chance in this city. “We must decide where we want our ministry to count -- in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of our lives in a few chosen people who will carry on our work after we have gone. Really it is a question of which generation we are living for.” -- Oswald Sanders


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