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    Why we shouldn’t go back to normal, and that is okay

    Remember the old adage, “Old habits die hard?” I’m sure someone clever could come up with a quip about emerging from quarantine and going back to way the things were. I’m not sure I’m that person, but I do know that I don’t want to go back to my life before quarantine. While I certainly long to eat in restaurants, go to church, and see my friends, where my spiritual life is concerned, I simply cannot settle for the “way things were.” There is too much room for change in my life. If we are honest with ourselves, we can all do better. In fact, as Christians, we shouldn’t seek…

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    No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

    Exodus depicts the story of what God did when he heard his chosen people crying out for justice and deliverance from Egyptian oppression. Enter: the burning bush in Exodus 3. God commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to save them from the Egyptian tyrants. He told Moses to request Pharaoh's permission to let the Israelites leave Egypt. And Moses answered God’s call saying “Here I am.” But did he mean it? Moses had legitimate fear that the Israelites might not believe God had appeared to him. Because God had not appeared to the Israelites for over 430 years—their whole time in Egypt. Plus Moses had left Egypt under…

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    Moses, a gifted but flawed leader of God’s people

    Title: Moses, a gifted but flawed leader of God’s people Aim: To recognize that living for the Lord requires unwavering commitment, self-control, and humility. Scripture: Numbers 20:1–13   Discord among the Israelites, Numbers 20:1–5   Most likely, the reference to the “first month” (Num. 20:1) is in relation to the spring of the fortieth year of the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. It was at that time that Aaron died (20:22-29; 33:38).   Also, by then most of the Hebrews who were at least 20 years old when the Lord freed them Egypt, had died (14:20-25). They were replaced by a new generation of God’s people to begin the next…

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    Moses, used by God to intervene on behalf of His apostate people

    Title: Moses, used by God to intervene on behalf of His apostate people Aim: To assess how to respond to the temptations we face each day. Scripture: Exodus 32:1–14   Apostasy conceived and enacted, Exodus 32:1-6   Exodus has two principal sections. The first (chaps. 1–18) portrays God as the Savior and Provider of His people. The second (chaps. 19–40) depicts the Lord as being holy and righteous.   Through God’s revelation of Himself, He instructed the Israelites in His sovereignty and majesty, goodness and holiness, grace and mercy. They discovered that the Creator is the one and only Lord of heaven and earth.   Crucial to the narrative is…

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    Moses, called by God to deliver His people

    Title: Moses, called by God to deliver His people Aim: To remember that God is concerned with and involved in our struggles. Scripture: Exodus 3:1–12   God gets Moses’ attention, Exodus 3:1–3   Exodus is a continuation of the narrative that began in Genesis. In fact, the first seven verses of Exodus repeat information from the final chapters of Genesis. Furthermore, the first verse of Exodus indicates that its author knew he was adding to an ongoing narrative of God’s people.   Around 1876 B.C., Jacob and his family settled in Egypt. At that time, Jacob’s son, Joseph, was the prime minister of Egypt, being the second-in-command next to Pharaoh…

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    Who Do You Say I Am?

      Most of us know the greatest stories ever told. Noah, his ark in the flood, and the promise of the rainbow. Moses parting the Red Sea as the Israelites escaped from Egypt. The baby Jesus lying in the manger with shepherds and wise men paying honor to the newborn King. The empty tomb on Sunday morning. Often in stories our focus is on the action or the players or the outcome. But the stories of the Bible have another purpose––to turn our focus to the Author of life. To fix our minds on God. Renowned theologian A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing…

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    The Son’s Transfiguration

    Title: The Son’s Transfiguration Aim: To assess how our devotion to the Savior can strengthen our understanding of His teachings. Scripture: Mark 9:2–13   The mountaintop experience, Mark 9:2–4   Sometime during the last year of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He told His disciples that He would be executed and then rise from the dead (Mark 8:31-32). Not even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, could prevent this series of events from happening (v. 33).   The Messiah stated that those who give Him complete control of their lives are His genuine followers and would be eternally blessed. In contrast, those who reject Him would experience eternal loss (vv. 34–38).    Mark 9:1 records…

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    A shared meal with God on Mount Sinai

    Title: A shared meal with God on Mount Sinai Aim: To stress that the Lord’s majestic presence abides with His people. Scripture: Exodus 24:1–11   The geographical context: Mount Sinai   An examination of Exodus 19:1–2 indicates that the events recorded in chapter 24 took place at the foot of Mount Sinai. Some specialists think this is the same place named “Horeb, the mountain of God” (3:1).    Many mountains on the Sinai Peninsula and in neighboring areas have been tentatively identified as Horeb. Ancient Christian tradition says Horeb is Jebel Sufsafeh, a rugged granite peak in the south-central Sinai.    Some scholars think Horeb and Sinai are different names…

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    Is Working Less the Right Christian Response to Society’s Over-Work?

    “I really try to put away my work phone on the weekends.” “I really want to be fully present with my family this weekend and not focused on work.” Twice in the past week, I’ve heard these phrases from well-meaning Christians. I’ve also said similar things myself lately. Yet the more I think about our approach to work, the more I realize that our thinking might be flawed.   As American believers surrounded by a society focused on over-work, we want to stand out. We don’t want to be slaves to our jobs and servants to our paychecks. We want our faith to be central, reflected in all we do.…