Pastor David Palmquist's sermon over Ezra 3: 10-13, we will look at how the King Cyrus of Persia allowed the people of Israel to return from their exile in Babylon. The people soon get to work rebuilding the temple, and they praise God when the foundation of the temple is laid. Discover how you might cultivate a sensitivity to God's intervention in your life, acknowledging and responding with faith and obedience when doors open for hope, restoration, and God's presence with us.

Pr. David Palmquist

GOD is Here

Hope Has a Name
Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13
December 17, 2023
Pastor David Palmquist's sermon over Ezra 3: 10-13, we will look at how the King Cyrus of Persia allowed the people of Israel to return from their exile in Babylon. The people soon get to work rebuilding the temple, and they praise God when the foundation of the temple is laid. Discover how you might cultivate a sensitivity to God's intervention in your life, acknowledging and responding with faith and obedience when doors open for hope, restoration, and God's presence with us.

Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. I want to wish you all a very happy Advent season and especially today on this third Sunday of Advent to experience some joy. We pray that the message brought to you from the Word of God today will provide a little bit of joy for you. There’s a single sentence that is changing everything about my life. Now you probably think that might be just a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s true. It’s a life changing sentence. And I want to share it with you in just a little bit.

Before I do, I have to tell you about one thing, and that is the power of presents. Now I’m not talking about Christmas presents. But it is the right time of year that we could be talking about that. But today, I hope that you kind of get an early Christmas present, and I’m talking about the right person’s presence. It’s about his presence. When he is present, when that is there in your life, that has power to make you forget your problems. Power to change your emotions. Power to give peace and happiness. That’s the power that brings you Advent joy. Which brings me back to that simple little single sentence I promised I would share for you.

Are you ready? Are you sure you want to hear it? Here it is. Here it is. My sentence is, God is here.

God is here. Now, maybe you didn’t get that whole thing, that it really wasn’t that meaningful. Or maybe the, maybe the homonym confused you just a little bit, because I didn’t say God like G O D. Like a little bit of God, and I didn’t even say God with a capital G like officially the big man upstairs someplace No, I said God all the capital locks on capital G capital O capital D God is here. Now that is a simple sentence But if you believe it and if you remember it, it will change everything about Everything but I’ve got to warn you that sentence is not so simple. Actually, to believe all those words at the same time may be one of the most difficult spiritual things you’ll ever have to do in your life. And that’s why today, I want to plant this little seed in your heart so that the rest of your life, you can grow in happiness and peace and advent joy. Until you can say with King David, in your presence, God. It is fullness of joy at your right hand, our pleasures forevermore. And today, there’s another Bible story that we don’t hear too often. And it’s going to emphasize just that point. Let’s go to our text today. It’s from the Old Testament book of Ezra, chapter 3, verses 10 through 13. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, The priests in their vestments, and with trumpets, and the Levites, the son of Asaph, with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord as prescribed by David, king of Israel.

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord, He is good, his love toward Israel. Endures forever and all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid but many of the older priests and Levites and family heads who had seen the former temple what wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid While many others shouted for joy, no one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise, and the sound was heard far away. This is the word of the Lord. Join me in a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we ask your blessing upon us and our, your word today that it may come into our hearts and fill us with joy. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. So it was about 3, 000 years ago now that there was this man, this priest, uh, for the Jews as they were held captive. in Babylon. You know where the Babylon captivity was? Because it’s very similar to a month ago when we showed you the map of the Assyrian captivity. Basically the same area except now the Babylonians control that area.

They went down to the southern kingdom of Judah and took the Jews captive and hauled them off up north to Babylon. Ezra was the name of this man that was there with them. And his strength, his point in being there, was to teach the Torah, the law of God to the people, so that they could remember it all the time. Now he didn’t leave Babylon at the same time the other 50, 000 Jews did after 70 years when they were released from their captivity there. He stayed. He stayed behind for a little while and finally went back years later. And he got there just in time to see the laying of the foundation of Zerubbabel’s temple. Now there’s a little sketch of it. It wasn’t as magnificent as the ones before, but it was the second temple, the first one, the one built by Solomon that we’ll see in a minute. Now he went back with a large wave of Jews, and there they were, rejoicing over the building of the foundation of this temple. It took 20 years, though, for them to finally build this temple, and sadly, it too was destroyed some years later.

Then the final temple came along, and this is called Herod’s Temple. And it was, that’s a beautiful picture, huh? And this was built before Jesus was born, so that’s the one that we deal with in the New Testament all the time. And this one, too, the Roman Empire destroyed. And we’re told that they did not leave one stone on top of another. That’s how badly it was destroyed. And the temple never rebuilt again. Destroyed in 70 A. D. And today there’s no temple in that spot. So, at Ezra’s time, this was pretty emotional. To get this temple up and running again. They sang praises. They sang songs of thanksgiving. They played their instruments. They played their bells. And the choir sang. And it was an amazing experience. There was such a loud noise that it was heard far away. Shouts of joy, shouts of weeping, maybe tears of joy, tears of sadness from the elders of those families who served in the temple before that. Now remember, going way back, there was always a moving tabernacle, it was called. From Moses time through the wilderness up until the time of King David, there was this movable tent. Kind of a picture of it there. So they set it up, and they gathered their tents around, stayed for a while. As long as they stayed, that tabernacle was there, and then they’d pack it up, and they would start moving on again.

David didn’t like that so much. He set it up where he was supposed to, but he was the one who wanted to build the temple in Jerusalem when the people got there and get rid of this tabernacle thing, except God said no. You’re a bloody king. You’re a warlike king. You had to kill all the tribes of the people that were living in this land so the Israelites could have it. So you’re not going to build the temple, but your son Solomon, he’s the one, he’s going to build this temple. And that’s the next one that we have, this beautiful gold laden temple, Solomon’s temple. And inside all of those temples was a thing that was called the Ark of the Covenant. You might remember that, I hope it’s not from those movies, because those movies didn’t tell you a whole lot of truth about it. But it was, it was inside the little part of the temple on the west end called the Holy of Holies. It was separated by this huge, five inch thick curtain. People couldn’t get in there. And, uh, inside there was this Ark of the Covenant. And that’s where the, uh, high priest would go once a year. Uh, to sprinkle animal blood. On that mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Do we have that picture of the Ark up there or did I miss it? There it is. You see the wings just about touching. The gold cover was solid gold. And that’s where he would sprinkle this animal blood for the sacrifices for the people of Israel. Now the inside was three things.

Bet you don’t know what they are. Pop quiz, three seconds. Three, two, one, zero. Nope, didn’t get it. Two tables of stone, the Ten Commandments. A gold bowl of manna, the third one, was Aaron’s rod, his staff, that overnight blossomed, sprouted, and brought forth almonds. That was to prove that Aaron’s role as their priest was valid. That was what was inside the Ark of the Covenant. Why don’t we see it today? It was destroyed or taken off at the same time Zerubbabel’s temple was brought down. But anyway, that’s where the people went. Very important to them, not only the temple, but especially that Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant. That’s where the people went to see God. That’s where His presence was. As far as they were concerned, that’s where God lived among them. And here’s what they said as they sang those songs of praise, acknowledging that God is present, God is here, He is good, His love to Israel endures forever, that was their statement. And here’s what they called Him. Five times in this text they used the word Lord. Yes, hope has a name. And it’s Yahweh, Jehovah, or Lord, capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D. That is the one word you’ll find if it’s capitalized in the Old Testament that refers to the name of God, a name that the Israelites, the Jews, never spoke.

They would write it, they would never say it. And so we, to this day, don’t know exactly how that is supposed to be pronounced in Hebrew. So we took a bunch of Hebrew vowels ourselves and added them to those four letters in the Hebrew. And we came up with Jehovah. Jehovah is the big name of God. That’s where his power is described. This true, glorious God. The people knew that too. They knew that that was very special. That the Lord was present. They knew that He had done so many good things for them, and He still continued to do it. His love for Israel endures forever, they said. He continued to provide hope and restoration, inviting them to always come close, always to believe, always to trust in Him, that this God would always deliver them. So is God an angry God? Were any of you raised with that impression? Like you thought of God with all the rules and the commandments and the sins and you were going to go to hell someday. And you lived in this fear and judgment hanging over your head constantly. If that’s the impression of what you thought God was like, then remember this story.

Because God blesses. He forgives. He saves. He proves that He is patient, loving, and merciful. Love to Israel, his love to us, endures forever. Does God take sin seriously? Well, of course he does, because it hurts. Does he want us to repent? of our sins? Well, absolutely. We need to change our ways very often. Is hell a real place where unbelieving people go? Well, absolutely. But the greatest desire, God’s greatest will, is not to judge or condemn or separate or exclude. His greatest desire is to draw you near to Him. To know His love and to save you. That’s what the Lord And that’s what these people recognized in the temple of God. And God wants you to recognize His presence that way. But how is that going to happen? What do we do about that? There’s no temple around. Where do we go? This is just a church building. Certainly not the temple of the Lord. So where do we go? Well, the first thing to remember is just to believe. In God. Capital G, capital O, capital D. I have to tell you that when I grew up, I was quite blessed to always know and believe in Jesus as my savior from sin. From little on up. My parents always took me to church and Sunday school. They loved me and I knew it and I knew they were reflecting the love of God that was in their hearts and so I had it too. My first Sunday school teacher told me how much God loved me and I wanted to go to heaven right then and be with him.

Didn’t happen. Had to go to Sunday school with my father in seventh grade. You wonder why he taught Sunday school? Yeah, I know he loved it, but I think he wanted to, uh, make me behave a little bit. So anyway, I loved it. I had the grace and love of God. I had all of that, and I thank the Lord for that, but it seems like I never did quite get this idea of God, of God. He’s glorious. Because when I thought of heaven, I thought of heaven as a place to go to escape all the problems and pain of this world. I didn’t really think of heaven as a place to go to get into His presence. I could tell you that Jesus It was an amazing person, an amazing savior, because he forgave all my sins. But I could not explain to you why Jesus was amazing to the angels who had never committed sins. Why angels would worship God, even though they needed no redemption, no forgiveness, no salvation. But there they were in the presence of one who is so glorious and they said he is worthy of honor and glory and praise. And blessing. Isaiah even said that. He says, I saw the angels. The angels are singing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of His glory. The angels were saying if you want to remember what a huge deal God is, if you have so much evidence right there, it’s in the whole earth, not just the church, but it’s in the whole earth.

Full of His glory. And every day now, every day of the entire year, every good experience that you have had, you just let that catapult your heart into the bigness of God, and you’ll leave the cap lock on all the time, and you’ll believe not in God, you’re gonna believe in God. So I thank God for His grace. But to believe in God, I have the idea of His great glory. Number two, don’t just believe in God. Believe that God is. Not that this glorious God was or will be. He is. You know, you can meet a lot of Christians today who think that the presence of God is some future blessing and not a present reality. That one day when I die because of my faith in Jesus, I will be with God. And that’s beautiful. And that’s true. You hold on to that. That’s for sure. But they all, all ask what I do. What about now? Where are you when I need you? I need you now too. Well, Philippians 4 says, don’t be anxious about anything because the Lord. is near. King David wrote in Psalm 23, I will fear no evil for you are with me.

Not will be. What am I going to be afraid of? God is with you right now. Not some small God, but a glorious, forgiving, powerful God. He is with you now. I want you to remember that if there’s something that makes you afraid. If there’s something that makes you ask a worst case scenario or a what if question, you ever go to bed at night and think, what if, what if, what if, what if, and you can’t hardly get to sleep, right? Well, you get up and write down all those what ifs on a piece of paper and then you take a felt tip pen and you cross that sheet and put, God, G O D, is. You’ll go to sleep. Write it down, and remember, God is, I will fear no evil, for you, God, are with me.

Which leaves us with the last, beautiful word. There’s a big, glorious God. He’s present. I want you to believe, that He is here. Not over there, with those people. He’s right here, with all of you people. You know, the devil is totally okay. If you believe the first two words that I shared with you, but not the third. If there’s a glorious, loving, powerful God, and he’s present, but he’s over there someplace with all those people, and not with you, then this sentence means nothing. If somehow the devil can convince you that because of something you’ve done, or something you continue to do, or you are doing something you struggle with, and you can’t get over it, That God can’t possibly love you, that he can’t be right here with you like he was with King David and Ezra.

Then the devil has won the battle. God is here. The temple was important to the Jews because it was their connection. Their connection of a perfect God to this imperfect group of people. That’s how important this was to the Jews returning from captivity. But just a few hundred years later, after this, what happened? Christmas. Hmm. Jesus showed up, huh? He showed up in a little town of Bethlehem. Not at the temple. Eight miles south of Jerusalem. Yes, eight days later, his parents took him to the temple and saw Simeon, as we heard in our reading. But he appeared as a baby, he grew up, he lived in Nazareth, and then he showed himself as a Savior, the Messiah, the promised one that was to come. And of course, when he told them that, what happened? They took him out and crucified him. They didn’t want to hear that. And there he was on that cross, as you know, hanging in pain, shedding his blood and dying for your sins and mine and the sins of the whole world. And you remember what took place in the darkness of his death on the cross of Calvary that day?

That five inch curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was ripped from top to bottom. Meaning now you have access constantly to your saving God. There He is, your true God. The Bible says That if you believe in Jesus, what lives inside you is not some little weak fallible heart in your chest, but what lives in you is the Holy Spirit himself. Can you believe that? Can you fathom that concept? The Holy Spirit living in you. There are people who literally will take off weeks from work, spend thousands of dollars, fly halfway around the world to the city of Jerusalem to see the place where the temple used to be. It’s not there no more. It ain’t there, so let me save you some money. Where’s the temple? All you gotta do is read 1 Corinthians 6. It says, your body. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you. This is so unbelievable to me at times, that God Himself, God is here. He’s not far away. He’s not distant. You’re filled with the Holy Spirit. You are the temple of God inside of you.

God is good, and he is there. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful things. Because of Jesus and his death, you have instant access to this God. The place where you are is the place where God is. The temple of God is within you. I want you to believe that, too. When you get up today, and you go out to your car, guess who’s going to be there? God. When you go to your home, no matter how big your mansion or how small your little apartment may be, who’s there? It’s God. When you go to the hospital again, or you go to the doctor’s office to hear some bad news, Who’s there? God is. So where you go, guess who’s there. And one day, one day soon maybe, when Jesus returns, or when you die and go to heaven, you’re gonna see him. You’re gonna see him face to face. But I have to wonder, way before that, if you wouldn’t say, I know him. I already know him. I loved him, because my God is a loving, glorious God. He’s not just out there somewhere.

He’s in here, and he’s good. Hope has a name. My God, Jehovah. He’s here, and he’s here right now. Join me in prayer. Dear God in heaven, you are an amazing God. And we always try to see and to seek and to know you all the more, to be captivated by your presence. And we know through your word and the sending of your Holy Spirit that you enlighten us and lift us up. Open our eyes, the eyes of our hearts, to every day realize what a great and glorious God you are. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

 

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Weather you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

Sign up today!

Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)