God is never explicitly mentioned in Esther, but we don't need to see miracles to see God at work.
Everyone in the story of Esther is flawed, but God orchestrated everything for his own glory and purposes.
We should celebrate God's grace for us on the cross, just as the Jews celebrated God's grace during the reign of King Xerxes.
God is good, wise, and in control.
Jonah and the Whale
If we look at old testament bible stories from a scientific lens, some things become hard to justify, but if we really believe God is the creator of the universe, these things should be nothing compared to the rest of what he has done.
We either have big problems and a small God, or small problems and a big God.
The fish that swallowed Jonah was salvation, not a punishment. It spit him back in his hometown to give him a second chance to follow God's command. God doesn't want to force us down a path.
When the Ninevites repented of their sins and God forgave them, Jonah was furious, even though his job is to bring people back to God.
If the Lord forgives us, and we don't take it into our hearts, we are blind to forgiving others for the same things.
Pastor Preston Lee
In the beginning God creates a paradise for Adam, but he sins, leading to the flood.
Noah is there at the start of the new world, but he falls into sin as well.
Noah is like the new Adam, starting in a new world, only to succumb to sin.
Knowing this, God still made a covenant with Noah, instead of starting all over. Why?
God made us in his image. To erase that would be erasing his mark on this world.
God gave Noah the covenant, knowing that he would sin.
This is similar to how Jesus washed his disciples feet, knowing they would all fail him when he was taken to the cross.
Pastor Crit Fukunaga
God's Eternal Nature
God is eternally present, omniscient, omnipotent.
God has put eternity in our hearts, which leads us to:
- Search for life (career, relationships, technology. Should be Jesus)
- To want an afterlife
We don't belong in this worldly kingdom, we belong in God's kingdom.
Look at people with eternity in mind, because each of them are either going to heaven or hell.
Pastor Theo Ma
2 Corinthians 5:21
See God's love for you in his reconciling work at the cross.
Every sin has a just punishment, and so we all deserve death when we come before God.
Jesus was the only person that lived a sinless life and didn't deserve death, but on the cross, he was covered by all our sin to the point where he was unrecognizable.
The guilt of sin has been fully removed by our being made righteous so that we can approach God.
The great exchange: Jesus took on our sin and was treated as we deserve, and in exchange we take on his sinless life and are treated as he deserved.
This exchange only happens if we are in Christ:
Pastor Ted Kau
Holiness is the attribute most central to God's character.
We define holiness as moral purity, but God's holiness means set apart.
The natural response to seeing God is true fear, and not just reverence.
When God touches creation, it becomes holy. Ex: The wine and bread of communion is holy because of what they represent.
We must fill our lives with the important things first (God), and then fill in the cracks with everything else. If we do it the other way around, there will be no space to fit God in our schedules.
Pastor Darren Lo
Church and Parachurch
A church is a God-ordained community of believers committing themselves to each other to teach the Word, celebrate communion and baptism, discipline members, establish a biblical structure of leadership, pray and give together.
A parachurch is a christian faith-based organization that comes alongside the local church to carry out its unique mission.
AACF's unique mission is to reach into the university and collegiate community, primarily to those who are Asian Pacific Americans, with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
A healthy parachurch ministry:
-Knows that it exists primarily to uphold the church.
- Makes a clear distinction between church and parachurch.
- Avoids acting like a church.
- Seeks accountability relationships with the church
- Maintains a strong commitment to, and understanding of the gospel.
- Go to church regularly, find ways to serve.
- Think of ways to reach your campus with the gospel.
Pastor Abe Park
One of God's names is El Qanna, or Jealous.
Human jealousy is based on our petty insecurities; we tend to mirror that pettiness on God when discussing his jealousy.
God's jealousy is comparable to marriage: a wife rightfully experiences jealousy if her husband cheats.
God is our groom, and we are his bride.
God's divine jealousy is for us to be faithful and give him glory.
Pastor Terry Coon
God's Love and Grace
Who we are as Christians is a direct result of the love and grace given us by the Father.
God's love is his self giving affection for his image bearing creation, and his unselfish concern for their well being.
God's grace is his kindness given those who only deserve wrath and punishment.
-God's love and grace are unconditional
-God's love and grace are immeasurable
-God's love and grace are inclusive
-God's love and grace are sacrificial
-God's love and grace are purposeful
Pastor Sunroot Liu
Importance of Community
Devotion to a Christian community is how God transforms us
- We are exposed to the ugliness in ourselves and others, and sticking with the same community teaches us to deal with conflict.
- We all have gifts to share with others in the community, and that others can share with us.
- Being in a community enables us to be a light to the rest of the world.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.