It is interesting to see how many times the word “all” occurs in the opening verses of the book of Acts. After identifying those who were included in the early followers of Jesus in the first chapter of Acts, we read in verse 14, “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” Worship was no longer something only for the older men; now it is for all.
Esther shows us that leadership is responsiveness to God and to those who are hurting. It is a readiness to self-sacrifice, and it has everything to do with character, intimacy with God, and closeness to those who are vulnerable.
Do you find your daily Bible reading and chat with God one of the great comforts in life? Does their routine and predictability contribute to their consoling quality? Yet, are there occasions when God’s presence pierces through, disturbing the quiet in a startling way? The ancients called such moments “thin places” because the veil concealing God had thinned, making God’s presence sensible to us—an awareness we once enjoyed before sin entered the world.
Many know the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. However, often our own culture and struggles can lead us to “discover” lessons that are not part of the text, or miss important details that are. Often in churches, Esther becomes obscured to the point where this brave woman who was mightily used by God becomes passively subject to the decisions of men. For example, a marriage book released recently by a popular pastor and his wife used the story of Esther to promote obedience to one’s husband, contrasting disobedient Queen Vashti with a “submissive” Esther. Is submission to one’s husband truly the lesson of this narrative?
The book of Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman who rises from obscurity into the royal court as the new queen of King Xerxes. This narrative includes models of leadership that could not be more different from each other.
I recently heard a sermon delivered by Dr. Peter T. Vogt, a professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. In it, he shared some insights about the story of Naomi and Ruth. With his permission, I have summarized some of them here.
In the book of Esther, two extraordinary women leaders, Queen Vashti and her successor, Esther, confronted the patriarchal palace system, eventually acting as power brokers on behalf of themselves and others.
I recently wrote a book about marriage. It is a mix of personal narrative, cultural commentary, and biblical reflection. As it turns out, you cannot write about marriage from a Christian perspective without addressing texts such as this one.
Gifts and callings are hand-selected by God, for you, to bless his church and impact the world around you. Yet sometimes, even with this knowledge, we can experience a spirit of fear regarding what God has called us to do.
This is the third in our sermon series called “Breaking the Silence,” where we’ve talked about some hard issues, such as mental health, suicide, and now, domestic violence. These three things are somewhat interconnected, and one thing they have in common is that they cross racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines.