The Story, Chapter 20 – The Queen of Beauty and Courage

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

God still speaks to us in a quiet whisper, offering us the blessed privilege of “saving His people” through wild and crzy acts of loving obedience.  Imagine what we could do to reflect God’s love for His children.  Imagine what would happen in our families, communities, nation and world if we would adopt Esther’s commitment as our own: “I will go to the king… and if I perish, I perish.”

Esther was willing to take her chances because she knew who was in control.

The Story, Chapter 19 – The Return Home

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

“Are you ready to go home?” Great words to hear! Although the Hebrew children went back to their beloved homeland they lost focus and passion in rebuilding the temple. We learn this week in The Story how important it is to make God’s big thing our big thing! Our number one priority should always be His presence in everything we do.

The Story, Chapter 18 – Daniel in Exile

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

Chapter 18 of the Story teaches us how to be “in the world but not of it”! Always remember 2 lessons from Daniel: 1) Be careful not to get sucked into the lifestyle of the world and 2) live a life that points others to God. Remember “we are aliens and strangers in the world” (1 Peter 2:11).

The Story, Chapter 17 – The Kingdom’s Fall

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

The people of Israel continued to wander farther and farther from God, and this sin finally resulted in the fall of the kingdom. Even as the kingdom crumbled under attack from conquering enemies, God promised of a day when he would rebuild it – not because of anything the people deserved, but just because He is God and wants to show his powerful love for his people.

The Story, Chapter 16 – The Beginning of the End (of the Kingdom of Israel)

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

Throughout the history of the kingdom of Israel, the people regularly failed to follow God, and many of the kings turned away from the Lord. The prophet Isaiah warned the people what would happen – that the kingdom would fall. What can we learn from the Israelites’ example, to remind us to continue honoring and following God as our king?

The Story, Chapter 15 – God’s Messengers

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

In our Lower Story lives, we are vulnerable to the same sin that plagued the northern kingdom of Israel: we want to worship gods of our own choosing. None of us would ever admit to idol worship, but consider how much time, energy, and money we spend on things that have no eternal value. Then compare that to the time, energy, and money we devote to God.

The Story, Chapter 14 – A Kingdom Torn In Two

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

Nothing harms the Church more than when its people reflect the wrong image of who God is. We do this whenever we show unkindness to others. We do this whenever we conduct our business dishonestly or let our anger get the best of us. These actions harm the Church, but they don’t stop it. God will build His Church. With or without you.

Wouldn’t you prefer he did it with you?

The Story, Chapter 13 – The King Who Had It All

Preacher: John Collins | Series: The Story

In our Lower Story lives, it can seem like everyone else is having all the fun. Everyone else can do whatever they want to, but I am stuck with these “rules” from God that keep me from having any fun. But God’s Upper Story never changes, nor is it influenced by what we want. He may allow us to have what we want, even if it violates his standards for enjoying life with him. But ultimately he is building a perfect community.

True wisdom leads us to depend on God and humbly trust that he knows what is best for us.

The Story, Chapter 12 – The Trials of a King

Preacher: Pat Fanelli | Series: The Story

Culture has a remarkable way of defining us by our failures. How did David – despite adultery and murder – come to be remembered as a man after God’s own heart rather than to be defined by his failures? How can we escape being defined by our failures and enjoy the freedom David experienced?

The Story, Chapter 11 – From Shepherd to King

Preacher: Don McClune | Series: The Story

In our lower stories, we often look at ourselves as if we are underserving.  We’re not king material.  We think, “God can’t possibly use me to build his perfect nation because i don’t have a religious degree.”  Or you are not a dynamic speaker.  Or you are unemployed. Or your marriage just fell apart.  Or you haven’t been a follower of Jesus since childhood.

But God still has giants to kill.  He still has big plans to accomplish that will take someone like David to get the job done.  In the Upper Story, God often uses underdogs to advance his plan.  He looks inside the heart to find people he can use.  With our willingness and His power, nothing is impossible.