May 1, 2012

Today you should read: Haggai 2

In the wake of the recent tornados in Kentucky and all over the country, there are many homes that have been destroyed. We’ve all seen the pictures of debris, which was once someone’s home, scattered all over hillsides and fields after the tornados mercilessly ripped through small towns. It may take a while, but many will rebuild their homes and their towns and move forward with life. I can imagine that some people who had lived in those homes and small towns will look at their newly rebuilt homes and towns and say, “You know, it’s just not the same or as nice as it used to be.”

Similarly, that is the attitude of the remnant that is rebuilding the temple. In chapter 2, fellowship with God has been restored and they are back to serving God (see Haggai 1:12). The temple is being rebuilt, but the people are discouraged when they compare this new temple with the old temple of Solomon. The new temple doesn’t compare (vs. 3). It’s just not the same as it used to be.

Let me be transparent here. Honestly, I have similar thoughts as I compare CPC Lexington and CPC Richmond. I look at our new campus in Richmond, and I think, “Man, CPC Richmond doesn’t quite stack up to CPC Lexington.” The reason I think that is because there are more people at our Lexington campus, and we’re a little more “polished” in Lexington. There are more families plugged into our Lexington campus, as well, which makes it feel more stable and consistent. As we build this new campus in Richmond, it’s easy for me to get a little discouraged because we don’t have a lot of families involved (yet), and we’re not completely polished (yet), and there aren’t hundreds of people who can serve in various roles at the church (yet). I can sort of relate to the remnant that was playing the comparison game with the new temple that was being built.

Verses 4-5 give a message of hope and encouragement to the remnant. God tells them to take courage and keep working because He is with them. God’s covenant promise to them is still valid. His Spirit is with them, so they need not fear.

Well, verses 4-5 give a message of hope and encouragement to me as well. I can take courage and come to Richmond and work like crazy, because I can trust that God is with me and He is doing a great work. The same Spirit that was with the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt is with me and our church today. He will grow the church in Richmond to be exactly what He wants it to be. People in the Richmond area will experience the promised Messiah through CPC Richmond because God wants them to experience Him.

I choose to take courage and work, and watch God do amazing things in Richmond. In what ways do you need to take courage, work, trust in Him, and be without fear today?

Posted by: Rich Duffield

April 30, 2012

Today you should read: Haggai 1

“I write better the night before my paper is due.” I have said this phrase a number of times in my college days. I am much better about getting work done ahead of time but there was a time when I needed to go to procrastinators anonymous. However, I never really got around to it. Why did I wait to the last minute? I simply did not want to do my homework. I would rather hang out with friends or go play ball or something rather then what needed to be done. I was shirking on my responsibilities.

Haggai begins in the time of Darius the king and it is the anniversary of the destruction of the first temple (2 Kings 25:8). God addresses the people of Israel and asks why they have yet to start the rebuilding of the temple. The people have said that it is not yet time to rebuild the temple. The temple is the place that God comes to dwell among the people and it is the place where they go to worship God. One would think that it would be the highest priority of the people of Israel. However, their response is that it is not time. Why? Because they are busy enjoying their own comforts.

Verses 4-6, speak of how the people are living in comfort (paneled houses) while they allow God’s house to be in ruin. They are working and living for themselves and not for God. They are basically saying “We will get to rebuilding the temple later but I am busy right now.” God responds by urging Israel to consider how empty and pointless their laboring is. Apart from God all their hard work means nothing. If God is not blessing their work then they can work and toil all day long but nothing is to come of it (vs.7-9). God wanted Israel’s worship first and he wanted to be their first priority.

This chapter does have a happy ending because the people listen to the word of the Lord that Haggai spoke. They obeyed the voice of the Lord and they feared the Lord. The result was all the remnant began to work on the house of the Lord. Because of Israel’s heart to worshipfully obey, God was with them. It was not because the people were lazy that God was angry with them in the beginning. Israel had been working hard. The difference is Israel had been working to serve themselves. Now Israel had turned their hearts back to God and made him the number one priority.

The lesson that I hope we can take away from this passage is that obeying God because of a heart of worship is what matters. Everything that we do as the people of God must be out of worship to him. God should be our first priority. He has given those who follow him instructions to share our faith and to spread the word about his son Jesus. Let us not shirk on our responsibilities to do so. I hope we obey God with a sense of urgency.

1 Corithians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Posted by: Chad Wiles