ESTHER: SEEING GOD IN THE SHADOWS
What do we do when God seems hidden to us? We’ve all experienced times in our life where we’ve wondered, “Where is God in this?” The Book of Esther is a deeply humanising historical narrative, that tells a story of God’s sovereign plan unfolding through imperfect people and unlikely circumstances. Throughout its pages, God is not mentioned. There are no prayers, no prophets, no temple, no Scripture quoted, no moral heroes, and no miracles. It is a story that helps us see God in the shadows, when life isn’t going according to plan. It is a story that helps us see how God’s plan stands over all human plans. As God’s people learn to navigate life in exile on the margins of society, they learn that He is true to His promises, even when they can not understand the hand of His providence.
Outside of our Sunday worship gatherings, Gospel Communities at Liberti are the main thing we do. We gather in community with our friends and neighbors to live life together and experience the gospel in ways we can’t on our own. It is here that disciples are made, pastoral care happens, leaders are developed, followers of Jesus deepen in holiness, and the beautiful relational life of the New Testament Church is experienced. We believe that God has created us in such a way that we are only truly healthy when we live life in community.
The truth of the Gospel is really good news and is the message through which Jesus has promised to liberate people’s hearts. We are not the centre, Jesus is. What makes God’s Word uniquely distinct is it is not primarily advice about how to live a good life, but a revelation of who God is, what He has done, and what He promises to do for those who turn to Him and trust Him. Only this sin-destroying, affection-transforming message of Christ’s finished work on the cross can transform people’s hearts. Therefore we will keep on announcing this good news in a way that is bold yet joyful, relevant yet reverent, intelligent yet compassionate. The Gospel is the inexhaustible promise that satisfies our restlessness and makes sense of every question that life throws our way.
We are to respond to God’s initiating grace by gladly living out every area of our lives for Jesus’ fame. As Paul wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Because we’ve been liberated through Jesus’ death and resurrection, our entire reality is essentially an unrelenting ‘thank-you’ to God for what He has given us through the Gospel. Our speaking, our singing, our praying, our giving, and our serving are all acts of joy-filled worship.
We don’t go to church, we are the church. When Jesus frees us, He makes us part of His family. We believe that God has created us in such a way that we are only truly healthy when we live life in community. Gospel Communities aren’t just a good idea to us; they’re our primary instrument through which we see Jesus shaping our lives and making us more like Himself.
As C.S Lewis once said, “Our delight is incomplete until it is expressed.” God has woven our joy into His mission. We believe that found people find people and therefore we desire to generously serve our city by demonstrating and declaring the gospel in our workplaces, universities, schools, neighbourhoods, and networks. Mission is not an extra-curricular activity to us, but a lens through which we see every part of our lives.