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Thriving in a changing world — walking into the future, looking backwards

23/10/2022 - Matt Destry

Birthdays and the opportunity to reflect, and this reflection always includes reflecting on CHANGE Question: How do you deal with change? Fight it? Accept it? Contribute to it? Love it?

Today is a significant day in the life of Discovery Church, as we both look back in celebrating 75 years of service to this region, but also forward into the future of this community and her part to play in the region, extending the borders of the Kingdom of God and seeing people come into the knowledge of God’s great story.

1/ Acknowledge the loss

Ezra 3:10-13 

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good;

his love toward Israel endures forever.”
And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

Theological concept: knowing self and acknowledging loss.

Question: Why don’t we like to acknowledge loss?

2/ Look to possibilities

Haggai 2:3-9

3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Theological concept: Seeing with eyes of faith – this would be the house that the Messiah would come to – this house would usher in a new season for the people of God.

Question: Do you understand the changes that are happening? In church and in life? How can we do both, ‘be strong… and work’?

3/ Live God’s values

Ezra 10:1-2, 9-12

While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have

been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel…

Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11 Now honor[a] the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.”

12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say.

Why the big deal about marrying foreign wives?

Not racial but spiritual

Not personal but community

Not new temple, but old hearts

Question: what s the deal with your foreign wives?

What comes home with you that negatively affects your relationship with Jesus? What (or who) are you trying to control when you should be seeking to empower? Is this a matter changing behaviour or do you need a new heart?