A word from Jordan and a call to action

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A WORD FROM JORDAN 

This Sunday’s sermon will be taken from Nehemiah 6 and will entitled “The Lord is My Fortress: Defending against threats of slaughter, slander and scandal.” (if you haven’t heard last week’s sermon on Nehemiah 5 “The Struggle is Real” check it out on our website www.hfcnh.org)
Lately, we have seen Nehemiah and the Jewish rebuilding effort go through a lot in the past few weeks. They have faced attacks from without (taunting and criticism), attacks from within (greed and heartlessness), and now Nehemiah will have a target on his back as he receives the last batch of external attacks. The enemies of God are not pleased with the success of the building project and the continued restoration of God’s people in the land, so they go on an all out assault on Nehemiah and his reputation. They will seek to assassinate him, slander his name and to involve him in a scandal to discredit his testimony. In the end, these attacks are unsuccessful because Nehemiah feared the Lord more than man. These enemies of God were basically terrorists seeking to incite fear in order to get Nehemiah to quit. But Nehemiah would not be stopped. He did not give up. He kept his testimony through it all. Nehemiah was able to trust in God as His fortress to fend off the attacks from the wicked. Read Psalm 18 in preparation for Sunday.

CALL TO ACTION

I would also ask you to pray for some things going on in our church. If you haven’t noticed we have some good problems. The last several Sundays our worship facility in New Ipswich has been very full. More often than not there are barely enough seats and never enough parking spots. I want you to know that I am praying very hard about the building project in Jaffrey. Why? Because I never want the church to be in a place where there isn’t enough space for those who want to hear gospel. While that has not happened yet, we are getting closer to that reality. We don’t feel it is necessary to start holding 2 services on a Sunday morning, but we are certainly seeing the advantages of the new building in Jaffrey to be finished as soon as possible. But for that building to be finished soon, we need you to pray. Pray that God would continue to grow his church. Pray that God would build our church in the same way he built the walls in Jerusalem and restored them as a nation. It only took 52 days in order to rebuild the walls! Wow! God can do great things! Pray God would provide the funds we need and for the laborers to “rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18). I want to thank all of you who have already given your time, talents and tithes to this project. I am constantly blown away at all of you who are invested in this church. Keep up the good work! Fight the good fight! It takes a team to build a wall, it takes a team to build a church and it takes a team to build a community. 
WAYS TO HELP OUT
  • Work Parties: Most Saturdays to come in the near future we will be busy doing something at the church. This Saturday we will be trying to get a huge chunk done on the siding if we have enough help. Would you consider coming out?
  • Parking on Sunday morning is often tight, if you can please park in the lot next door to provide space for guests that would be helpful. 
  • Nursery is looking to make some improvements and will need more volunteers in the future.
  • Give to the building project through our donate button: https://www.hfcnh.com/giving/
  • PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! “So I prayed to the God of heaven” (Neh. 2:4).


The Struggle is Real

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Nehemiah 4 and 5

Church, please pray for this Sunday. The sermon will be entitled, “The Struggle is Real.” It will focus on the reality of living a Christian life in a fallen world. Nehemiah and the Jews faced this struggle as they were constantly surrounded by enemies who attack from without but also struggled with internal problems from within. The phrase “the struggle is real” means a lot of different things in today’s culture. Most often today you can see the phrase, “the struggle is real” used ironically in peoples lives to comically lament the difficulties of everyday life and/or the struggles of “first-world-problems.” Which is another phrase that mocks the problems we think are a big deal but really are not. For example, like running out of battery for my new iPhone, when most of the world can’t even afford their next meal let alone an iPhone. Yet, my life seems to be falling apart when I am at 3% battery and I’m not within arms reach of a cell charger. So in all actuality “The Struggle is Real” depicts how petty most of our “problems” in this life really are when we weigh them against the grand scheme of things the entire world faces on a daily basis. People all around the world are struggling to find food to fill their starving bellies, and not to find enough juice to fill their draining phone battery.

We find a very real struggle between life and death and rich and poor in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah and the Jews are working on rebuilding the wall when they faced real struggles and real problems. They were surrounded on all sides by enemies that wanted to kill them. The task before them was monumental and the conditions were difficult. The pressures from without were getting harder and harder to bear. Yet, the pressures from without weren’t the only problems they had to deal with, because what often proves to be the most disastrous the problems from within. We see this is in Nehemiah chapter 4, when the are people banding together to defend the rebuilding effort and stand against whatever may try to put a stop to God’s work. Yet, what they didn’t expect is the internal strife and oppression they would face in chapter 5.

Nehemiah chapter 5 details a massive problem that plagues many modern churches today. The Jews were taking advantage of each other. Rich Jews were enriching themselves at the expense of their poor neighbors and family members. The problems were many: there was a famine, there wasn’t enough food to go around, many of the farmers were busy working on the wall project and unable to grow food, they had to buy food to feed their families, so they had to borrow money in order to stay alive, and the cycle goes on. So, the richer Jews loaned out money to these poorer Jews and started to seize their property when they couldn’t make the loan payments. Then these same poor Jews were having to borrow even more money in order to pay the high royal tax the Persians had upon them. So the rich Jews loaned out more money and started charging a ridiculously high interest rate on the loans. So basically, certain people were enriching themselves and taking advantage of poor people, and not just any people, but their very own family members, their flesh and blood. These people were so ruthless, that the poor people were having to sell their own sons and daughters into slavery in order to pay their money-lenders. Talk about cruel! Talk about a struggle.

So we see from Chapter 5, that the struggle is real. Not ironically but in reality, the struggle of sin was very real to them. But this is why one reason why I love scripture and the way God’s Word is so real. Because this could have been left off the pages of scripture. Chapter 5 doesn’t have to be there in order for the story of Nehemiah and his restoration project to take place. Yet, it is there, in all its messiness, it is there. You see, scripture is messy because people are messy. We are sinful and God’s Word is ultimately about God who comes down into our mess and cleans it up. He doesn’t tell us to clean up for our mess ourselves, but instead he comes and cleans it up for us. Nehemiah could have easily left off these gory details of in-fighting and oppression of the poor,and instead paint himself as the perfect leader of a perfect people. But he doesn’t, he details this problem and he also details the resolution to the problem. It is boiled down to the Fear of the Lord. The people didn’t fear the Lord’s commands on their lives and they certainly weren’t loving others like God had loved them. Instead, they did only as they pleased and as they wanted to do in their sight, not in the sight of God. Nehemiah reprimands the nobles for stealing from the poor and exacting high interest on their families in chapter 5 verse 9 when he says, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?” Ultimately, Nehemiah summarizes, just like Solomon did, the end of the matter, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing whether good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13,14).

So please prepare your heart for Sunday and if you can get a head start by reading through Chapter 4 and 5 of Nehemiah in order to be ready for what God will do in our hearts this Sunday.

Because of Christ,

Jordan


Reflection on Easter and Rebuilding in Nehemiah

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Reflection

As I reflect back on our services this past Easter weekend, I am overwhelmed and overcome by happiness and joy, because I see this church “walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Our Good Friday service was incredibly sobering, but in a good way. We were able to see a large crowd come out on a Friday night to reflect on God’s sacrifice for us. We focused on the Truth of God being slain on the cross by His people who are trusting in the lies of the devil. Yet, our hope is that the truth will prevail and the Truth of God is what sets us free (John 8:32). Then on Saturday, volunteers showed up in the morning to work on our church building. They prepped siding, painted trim, and attended to various other projects in preparation for the siding party coming up soon. Then many of those same volunteers who worked the morning at the church building site drove over to Mascenic to help out with Easter set-up as they and many others readied the high-school for our Sunday service. This meant bringing all the worship equipment and the millions of different doo-hickies, and thingy-ma-bobs and cords needing to be plugged into their rightful place. They decorated signs and prepared the cafeteria to serve Easter brunch. I helped out where I could, but mostly marveled at the team effort that I witnessed that Saturday.

Then on Sunday, several of the same volunteers and others showed up early to ready the food, warm-up for worship, run mic-checks, and hook-up technical equipment, hide eggs for the kids and so much more. God’s people were at work and so was He. God showed His hand in the service as He greatly blessed His Church’s effort. I don’t have exact numbers but several people estimated that we served over 450 people Easter brunch and around that same number were able to sit in on the worship service and heard the gospel preached. I was able to speak on John 14:6 and John 20. We focused on how “Jesus is the Life” and how he came from on high all the way down to us to conquer death so that He could take us up again with Him. Down is the new up. We also talked about how we have come full circle in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from garden of Eden to the garden tomb. From harmony to hostility to harmony again. From life to death to life again. Praise be the Lord for his marvelous and indescribable gift of grace (2 Cor. 9:15).

Rebuilding

This month we are going to jump back into our sermon series in Nehemiah. We will be covering chapter 3 and some of chapter 4 this Sunday. I couldn’t help likening what I witnessed this past weekend to what I read in Chapter 3 and 4 of Nehemiah. Because Nehemiah 3 is a long list of names and projects. Many of the names are hard to pronounce and many of the projects and locations are foreign to us, sounds boring right?. Well actually, this list is incredibly important and exciting for us to take a closer look at and is incredibly relevant to us as a church today. Because when I look at the long list of names given in Nehemiah chapter 3 and see how they kept accurate records of the ones involved in this ginormous building project, I think of all the people at Hope Fellowship who, day after day and week after week, selflessly serve behind the scenes in order to see the gospel advance and the Lord’s church grow. There are obviously too many volunteers for me to name, but you know who you are. I want you to know that it is encouraging to see all of you pitch in and get the job done. For those of you who haven’t found your place to help out in the church or are still hesitant at the idea, that’s OK. I want you to know that we have a place for you when you are ready, but don’t wait too long because at this rate someone might take your spot. Because when I look at the people who built the wall in Nehemiah’s day, I see regular ole’ people who gave of themselves to see God’s work finished. For us today in 2016, God’s work will never be finished until He returns. But take heart because there is true joy in serving Jesus. I agree wholeheartedly with the Apostle Paul that, “I will gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Cor. 12:15).

 

Thank-you everyone and keep up the good work!

— Jordan



Nehemiah: Rebuilding, Restoring, and Redeeming

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This Sunday I hope to deliver the message I intended to preach two weeks ago entitled “A Fresh Start: A New Beginning with God.” (You can read about it here) That Sunday, God had different plans for Jamie and me as we welcomed the birth of our newborn baby girl, Charlotte Noelle. Charley (with “ch”), as we call her, is doing well and she is keeping us on our toes, but we are discovering there is no place we would rather be.

In this post I would like to introduce our first sermon series of 2016, starting January 24th. I have been praying about what God wants us to learn from His Word this year and what part of His Bible He wants us to study. Embarking on a sermon series is kind of like shoving off to sea on a ship headed for a destination, but unsure of how the voyage will fair or how long it will take. However, I know God has a plan for this series and a purpose in burdening me with this study. This voyage through the book of Nehemiah will be exciting. In the book, there is a little bit of something for everyone. The book has a varied mixture of literary styles: a general’s diary, a governor’s report, a civil record, a management handbook, and a memoir. The main character is Nehemiah who is an inspiring leader soldiering on through thick and thin. He leads the Jews back to Jerusalem to raise the walls of Jerusalem back up from the ashes. He leads from ruins to restoration. He helps repair, rebuild, and restore the physical city, but more importantly reforms the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel.

The story of Nehemiah is relevant for us all because this is exactly what God has done with us. We were scattered in exile. We were lost and wandering. We were seeking our own with little thought of God. Yet, through his providential direction He has brought us home, rebuilt our lives, and given us a place at his table as his sons and daughters. Through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ we are restored to “Eden-like” communion with God. Man once walked in the cool of the day in the garden side-by-side with God, but because of sin we are now afar off. Yet, when we draw near to God he draws near to us. When we trust in Him, He comes to live inside of us. We have a comforter and a guide and through Him we come boldly to the throne of grace to receive help in time of need. In the time period of Nehemiah, we see the Israelite nation in an extreme time of need. But what did God do? Did he leave them in their desolation? No, he redeemed them, just like He has done for us. Praise God for His marvelous redemption.

The plan is to begin our study in Nehemiah by first setting the scene. To do so, we will look at the books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra. These books took place right before and during Nehemiah and will provide helpful background information to help us understand historical implications surrounding this time period.

So please join me in praying for this coming study. I know God is planning to do great things in our church through Nehemiah, but those great things must first start in your heart as you allow his Word of God to change you from the inside out. To begin that change we all need to pray for Holy Spirit to move in us.
In Christ,
Jordan Moody