Zechariah's vision of two olive trees connected to a lampstand forms the backdrop for a message to encourage God's people in confronting big obstacles. The two trees represent pastors and laity working together to accomplish God's purposes. The oil in the lampstand represents the Holy Spirit of God, which is the power behind every mountainmoving task. God also employs human hands, and does not despise the day of "small things." Joy and confidence in God's final outcome give encouragement and energy to complete the tasks before us.
Malachi works beside Nehemiah in 443 BC to encourage revival and confront half-hearted faith among the returned exiles. As the last book of the OT, Malachi looks toward the coming Messiah, and encourages revival.
Like Jonah, most of us struggle with how God runs his world, especially when it comes to evil and injustice. Do we dare question God? Jonah did. In the process, he discovered something valuable about his relationship with God.
The exiles return to Jerusalem, they begin the work on the temple, but 16 years after finishing the foundation, the temple still lies in ruins. Through a series of 4 sermons, Haggai stirs the people to action and promises that God will be with them. Pastor Mark brings practical application to St. Paul's in our current community and setting.
When life comes undone, God places us in a position where we are forced to live by faith. The prophet Habakkuk gives wise counsel from the Heavenly Father in confronting the difficulties we face in our personal lives, and in the world. The story of T. J. Addington's (director of EFCA's ReachGlobal) struggle with MRSA pneumonia and near death forms the backdrop for the message.
Youth Director Keith Kozlowski brings a message to the congregation from the book of Micah. Keith's message focuses on some verses that are familiar (Micah 6:7-8), but often not understood in context: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
This Sunday's message reminds us that "sometimes God's promise of judgment on the triumphant perpetrators of evil can be an encouragement" (a quote from Don Carson). Pastor Mark takes the congregation into the courtroom of Nahum 1, and describes the judge, the district attorney, and the verdict. It is a message that is at the same time both shocking and comforting.
In this second sermon from the Minor Prophets, Pastor Mark reflects on the surprising prophecy of Amos. Amos spoke to the Northern Kingdom of Israel around 750 BC, during a time of national prosperity. They people longed for the "Day of the Lord" to finally deal with their enemies. Little did they know that God was coming to deal with them!