Friday, September 24, 2010

This Week's Reading - Ecclesiastes 11 and 12

Greetings! Thank you for being part of Project Ezra, and for being faithful in sharing the message of God’s grace. After you read this week’s outline, please be sure to check out the information at the bottom of the page regarding upcoming events, such as our Halloween outreach, for more information on the new YouTube video we are putting together, and to check out a brief review of Go, Stand, Speak, a newly released documentary on biblical open-air preaching.

This week the suggested reading is Ecclesiastes chapters 11 and 12. Both chapters are relatively short, so you could choose to read them together, or you could invite someone new to participate and have them read as well. A good idea might be to read the first chapter yourself, then allow them to read the second chapter before you share the gospel.

These chapters remind us that life is short and tomorrow is not promised, and that we need to look to eternal things. Solomon speaks more to young men here, telling them they should enjoy their youth, but should also be mindful of God and His law. Many, if not most, people work very hard to deny or drown out the reality of their eternity. This is not only true today, but based on the fact that this is a recurring theme in the bible, it has always been true. But I find it interesting that the young, even though you would think they are less aware of and concerned with their own mortality, often seem more willing to listen to the gospel. As we get older our hearts can become harder, and our pride stronger, and we become more resistant to change. So specifically addressing the young, as Solomon does here, seems appropriate.

We are also reminded that we can and should take joy in our lives, and in God’s creation, but with a thought toward eternity. God intended us to take joy in His creation. But none of the good things of the world are eternal, and we need to remember our creator while he has given us time. The things of earth will all break and perish, and the soul will return to God who created it, so we need to remind people to be prepared.

Finally, we are reminded that it is our duty to obey God’s commands, and that every deed will be brought into judgment. Another recurring theme that people frequently choose to forget is the fact that God, in addition to being loving and merciful, is also holy and just, and will hold us accountable for our actions. We need to show people the truth of their own sin and the reality of judgment, and they tell them of the wonder of the cross of Christ. Perfect love and mercy displayed alongside perfect holy wrath and justice, all demonstrated in Christ’s willing suffering and death for our sins.

So consider these bullet points for your preaching:

11:5 - As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
We do not know the work of God, who is high, holy, and transcendent, and we do not know what tomorrow will bring

11:7-8 - Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Enjoy life, but remember that the days of darkness will be many. You will be dead longer than you will be alive, and you can’t take anything with you.

11:9 - Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Rejoice in your youth and enjoy your life, but remember that God will bring all these things into judgment. Youth does not last.

12:1-2 and following - Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them"; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened…… before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Remember the creator in your youth, before you grow old, before you die and your spirit returns to God who made it. Youth is vanity.

12:13-14 - 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.

The Facebook Halloween event is now up here:
If you are part of the Facebook group you should be getting an invite soon, if you haven’t already. I would encourage you to start gathering your team for Halloween now, and to start thinking about Black Friday and Christmas as well. The True Gift of Christmas in particular was a very successful event last year, with many people participating.

As I mentioned in our last post, I am also in the process of updating our Project Ezra YouTube video. The original video is here:
The new format will be similar, but since the existing video was made early on in the project’s history, I want to add as many pictures and videos of recent participants as possible. So if you have pictures or video of your Project Ezra participation which you have not posted, and if you are willing to share them, please send them my way. Of course, we can’t include every picture or video, but I will include all I can.

Finally, a new apologetic documentary on biblical open-air preaching by the name of Go, Stand, Speak was released a couple weeks ago. I highly recommend that anyone and everyone involved in or interested in public preaching get a copy. Also, consider getting one for your pastor, and any Christian brothers and sisters who you think could be encouraged toward public preaching. The DVD covers some of the history of public preaching, the biblical precedent for it, and interviews many faithful men of God who practice this gift and train others to do so. Tony Miano, the founder of this group, is among them.

I hope that through Project Ezra you will continue to be encouraged to share your faith in the public square, and that you will encourage others as well. Thanks for your participation, and may God be greatly glorified as you share His message of grace today.

For the praise of His glory,


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