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Sunday, March 18, 2018


Joseph told his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." (Gen. 50:20 NLT)

Joseph, 20 years after having been sold into slavery by his brothers, and having risen to prominence in Egypt, was able in hindsight to see that this was true.

God has a plan, and while it includes us, it is far bigger than any one of is even bigger than all of us.

For those who are willing to trust him, God will turn evil things into good things. (Read Genesis 50:20 again, then Romans 8:28.)

Joseph's brothers did everything they could to stop his dreams from becoming reality. But God's plan cannot be defeated (Job 42:2).

We can trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Joseph, to be at work in our lives as we look to him, trusting him in times and situations that don't make sense to us.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018


God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for his own glory. (EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 1)

Joseph was a critical part of this plan, though he probably didn't think things were going very well for about 12 years. As a matter of fact, from his standpoint, things couldn't have gone worse: sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape, stuck in a prison for years, even after he had done a major favor for a man who had direct access to Pharoah.

But all the things that had been happening to Joseph, both good and bad, were preparations for what God was about to do.

And next thing he knew, one of Joseph's dreams had come true: the brothers who hated him and vowed they would never bow to him as his dream foretold, found themselves bowing to the second most powerful man in all of Egypt...their brother Joseph, who looked every bit the Egyptian he pretended to be in their presence.

Suddenly things started to look really bad for the brothers, and for their father, Jacob: "Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!" (Genesis 42:36 NLT).

To be continued...

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018


It is said that "Hell has no fury like that of a woman scorned." And Joseph experienced that first-hand after resisting the advances of his master's wife.

But where was God when Joseph was being unfairly accused?

Many people struggle with questions like this, especially when things go very wrong even though they did everything right. Is God some sort of cosmic sadist who gets off on watching people suffer? Or maybe he's good and all that stuff, but is powerless to do anything to set things right.

Yes, God is good, and is working all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). And yes, he is powerful. He shows his power in how he brings blessings from things that seem evil.

In part 1 of this series Joseph was sold into slavery, and in part 2 he ended up in prison. God wanted him in Egypt, and wanted him in a position of power. And the hardships Joseph went through were necessary in order to bring that about.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018


In the story of Joseph we gain insight into how God works in situations that we see as troubles, but God sees as triumphs in progress.

By the end of this portion of Joseph's story we see his brothers pull him out of the pit where they threw they could sell him into slavery. Talk about a dysfunctional family!

Sometimes God leaves us in an uncomfortable place while other parts of his plan are being prepared.

In Joseph's case that was what needed to happen, and that was when it needed to happen, so Joseph could end up in Egypt and carry out an even larger part of God's plan than he could ever have dreamed. And Joseph was quite the dreamer, as we see in today's message.

Joseph's story does not end in the pit, and your story does not end where you are right now.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018


In his message today, former associate pastor Neil Harris draws some powerful lessons from the stories of Esther and Joseph:

1. Life is hard!

Both Esther and Joseph were taken from their homes and found themselves in foreign lands, subject to the whims of those in power. Their stories (and their lives) could have ended much differently if they had not applied the following concept to their situations:

2. Grow where you are.

Esther learned to navigate the system of hierarchy and protocol at the palace and made the best of it. She proved herself to be a person of exceptional grace and presence of mind, and the people who had been placed in charge of her took notice. They helped her learn what she needed to know in order to become a worthy candidate for the position of Queen.

The administrative skills possessed by Joseph led to one promotion after another. And even after being thrown into prison for resisting the advances of his former master's wife, he kept learning and applying himself at every step of the way. Eventually he too had proven himself to be so entirely competent and trustworthy that was chosen for a powerful position, second only to Pharoah.himself.

What's the common thread between these two stories? In a word, it is that they made the most of whatever came their way. Esther and Joseph made themselves ready for God to use them, in His time.

"Maturity is the result of a lot of time spent moving in the same direction." Even in the midst of the daily grind, the constant challenges of life, it is choosing every day to follow God that will lead to maturity.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018


Oh, how the tables have turned! Those who intended to harm God's people found themselves in harm's way instead.

The book of Esther doesn't mention God or prayer, yet as this story reaches its climax it is clear that the sovereign Lord has been at work behind the scenes. And to this day the festival of Purim is celebrated to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of those who would destroy them. It is certainly a theme that has played out many times in world history!

But while Esther, Mordecai, and all the Jews in the Persian Empire were in the midst of the story, it sure looked like things were spinning out of control.

Can you relate?

We think life should go a certain way, we think we know what we want to happen, and so often we seem to be on the brink of disaster in some area of our lives.

But God works according to his plan, his timeline, not ours.

Two lessons we take away from today's conclusion of the book of Esther:

1. Spiritual growth is seldom instantaneous. Esther was queen for 5 years before it became evident that God had placed her in just the right spot "for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)

2. The wicked sometimes seem to have the upper hand. But God will deal with them (Prov. 11:21).

There are even larger themes examined during today's message: the nature of justice, hell, and the ulitmate sacrifice that enables us to belong in God's kingdom.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, February 04, 2018


Things were going really well for Haman: he was second in command of the kingdom of Persia, he'd been invited to a private dinner with the king and queen two days running, and he was only hours away from impaling his worst enemy, Mordecai the Jew, on a pole with the king's blessing.

Or so he thought. Instead, in the space of 24 hours his entire life and all of his plans unravelled.

- The king ordered Haman to lead Mordecai in a royal parade, singing his praises

- The queen revealed that Haman was the mortal enemy of not only her people, but her as well

- The king caught Haman offending the queen's honor as he pleaded with her for his life

- He was impaled on the very pole he had set up for Mordecai's execution.

It's an astounding turn of events, one in which God clearly worked His sovereign will to save His people.

But there are more lessons to draw from this story:

1. God will not forget your good work for him (Heb. 6:10, James 4:10). Xerxes had forgotten that Mordecai saved his life, and God brought that to his attention by not allowing him to sleep until he was reminded.

2. There is poetic justice. In other words, what goes around comes around; you will reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7) Haman plotted for the destruction of Mordecai, and those who scheme against God's people have made a fatal error (Esther 6:13).

3. Justice and mercy are in conflict. We like justice as long as it's being meted out to someone else. For ourselves, though, we desire mercy. But what about those we've hurt? If we are shown mercy, where is justice for them?

The Bible addresses this issue head on: All have sinned (Rom. 3:23), and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). 

But read that whole verse in context: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

God can't simply forgive everyone, as some claim He should: that would violate His own inherent nature of justice. So to satisfy his justice, he sent his son Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins. With that payment his justice is satisfied, and now his mercy can take effect.

"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." (2 Cor. 5:21 NLT).

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018


Most of God's activity in world history, and in our lives, is not blatantly miraculous. It is often only in hindsight that we recognize His guiding hand.

Such was the case with Esther, an orphan adopted by her older cousin Mordecai, both members of a conquered race from a tiny nation on the outskirts of the Persian Empire.

In face, there is no evidence in the first half of the book that bears her name that Esther acknowledges God at all. Yet by the middle of the story she is operating in faith that God may have placed her in such a prominent position at a critical time in the history of her people. So she stepped forward in faith, risking her life on behalf of her people and her God. And God protected her.

It is beyond dispute that God has protected his chosen people throughout the ages, keeping them alive in spite of the best efforts of the Babylonians, the Philistines, the Persians, the Romans, Hitler, and Stalin to wipe them off the face of the earth.

This is because he had a plan for them, and we see that plan at work through the faith and bravery of Esther: a plan to sustain the Jewish people and through them bless the world by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

God has a plan for you also, and his plans will not be thwarted by the enemy (Job 42:2, Isaiah 14:27).

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018


Some say the book of Esther shouldn't be in the Bible at all: It doesn't mention God, prayer, any of the prophets, Moses, the Law, or King David, for example. It also was not written on any of the Dead Scrolls.

But as this story unfolds it is clear that God is at work behind the scenes, setting the stage, choosing the characters, and lining up the events so that everyone and everything fulfills its role as part of His grand design: the survival of the Hebrews, through whom the Messiah would come to the world.

God is in the business of transforming Zeroes into Heroes. Esther was a nobody, but through a series of just-right situations she was chosen to become the Queen of Persia and save the king's life. And that's just the first part of the story! Tune in next week...

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018


Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)

As Christians we have been given this command by Jesus: go and make disciples. Guest speaker Pastor Dennis Larkin encourages us that even though we may think "I'm too old," "I'm too young," "I'm too busy," "I'm too tired", this is much easier than we think! And it is something each Christian should be doing.

Pastor Dennis provides some very simple steps and some exciting stories about work being done by e3 Partners in 70 countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mexico, to name a few.

And maybe you won't be able to go to Nigeria or Ethiopia, but what about going to your next door neighbor or family member who doesn't know Jesus?

A young woman named Madison also shared her touching story of how the Lord rescued her after a suicide attempt, and how she is now training others for evangelism at home and overseas.

To contact Dennis about the work of e3 Partners please e-mail him at

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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