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Looking to God for encouragement in the face of opposition, disillusionment and discouragement

“For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands” (Nehemiah 6:9)



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Ezra Chapter 2
1. This list shows us how personal God is
2. God stirs up hearts to serve
3. God connects people to places



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Ezra Chapter 1
1. Trust in The Peculiar Providence of God
2. Hope in the ultimate fulfilment of God’s promises



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During these challenging times where there is a lot of a bad and troubling news bombarding us every day… police brutality, racial injustice, pandemic, economic depression, political instability – it’s enough to overwhelm us. In this context it is helpful to grasp the biblical practice of lament – were we can mourn and even complain before God about the loss of good things and at all the injustices in our world.

In this sermon, Pastor Richard encourages us to enter into all these experiences through honest lamenting before God.



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‘The more one examines the various factors which seem to account for the extraordinary victory of Christianity, the more one is driven to search for a cause underlying them all. It is clear that at the very beginning of Christianity there must have occurred a vast release of energy virtually unequalled in history… Nothing else could explain the surge of the early Christian movement. What caused this release of energy…lies outside the realm in which modern historians are supposed to move’ – Kenneth Latourette



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But Why? To destroy hostility between races
Ephesians 2:11-22 (ESV)

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit”



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Why Did Jesus Die? To create a people passionate for good works

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:11-14