A Study of Amos: The Faithful Love of God

In the summer 2020 message series “For the Love,” the Clear Creek Community Church Teaching Team will examine one of the least known sections of the Bible, the books known as the Minor Prophets, to better understand the great love of God and our faithful response to that love. Join with us in reading each book along the way! Each Sunday afternoon we will post an introductory video by The Bible Project and a 5-day reading plan with reflection questions to prepare you to hear the following Sunday’s message.

DAY 1—Read Amos 1-2

Amos begins with a description of its author and the impetus behind his ministry. Where is Amos from, and what did he do before becoming a prophet (v. 1)? God’s voice was so loud in Amos’ ears that he couldn’t ignore it (v. 2). What might this tell us about who God uses to do his work?

Today’s reading is a series of oracles containing God’s promise to judge various nations. What similarities and differences do you see in both the judgments they will endure and the reasons for God’s condemnation?


APPLY—The nation of Israel is the recipient of the longest of Amos’ oracles in today’s reading, and the remainder of the book will continue to address them. In the midst of this condemnation, the Lord reminds them of his past faithfulness to rescue them (v. 9-11). How can remembering our past experiences of receiving grace lead us to repentance and transformation? What works of God in your life do you need to remember today?



DAY 2—Read Amos 3-4

Chapter 3 contains a series of rhetorical questions, some of which may feel unfamiliar to a modern reader. What is the implied answer to all of these questions? Why is the culminating question (v. 6b) difficult for us? What is God claiming sovereignty over?

In Chapter 4, Amos utilizes a colorful image to describe the wealthy women of Samaria. To what animal does he compare them? For what actions have they earned God’s condemnation?


APPLY—Amos 4 outlines the Lord’s varied attempts to bring his people back to repentance: plenty and famine, health and pestilence, kindness and discipline. Looking back on your life, what are some circumstances—both good and bad—that God has used to draw you to himself? How can even difficulties in our life be evidence of God’s kindness and grace?



DAY 3—Read Amos 5-6

Compare Amos 5:5 and 5:14. What are the Israelites told to seek, and what will be the result if they do? In what way are these verses equivalent? How does God define goodin this chapter?

Chapter 5 ends with the Lord’s condemnation of the Israelite’s religious practices. Why would God hate something that he had commanded them to do (Isaiah 1:11-17)? What does verse 24 proclaim to be God’s greater priority?


APPLY—Chapter 6 can be hard to read from an American perspective, where even the poorest among us can still be considered wealthy on a global scale. The Israelites’ enjoyment and comfort are not sins, but symptoms—how do verses 8 and 12 show the underlying reasons for the coming judgment? In what ways do we need to examine our lives, repent, and pursue humility and justice?



DAY 4—Read Amos 7-8

Amos is given three visions of judgment in Chapter 7. How does Amos react to the first two predictions of disaster (v. 1-6), and how does God respond to his pleas? In contrast, Amos’ third vision illustrates Israel’s failure to meet God’s standard of righteousness. What is different about Amos’ response to this vision?

Chapter 7 ends with a narrative, breaking from the poetic forms of the remainder of the book. Who is Amaziah, and what does he demand that Amos do? What do you think is at the root of Amos’ fearless response?


APPLY—Amos 8:11-12 predicts a coming famine—not of food or water, but a loss of hearing God’s voice. The people of God experienced 400 years of silence between the prophet Malachi and the appearance of John the Baptist, during which no prophets spoke and no new revelation was given. We are blessed to have unlimited access to the entirety of God’s word—including a record of the life and teaching of the Word of God himself—yet at times we neglect the gift of being able to hear from him. What could you do today to build a habit of prioritizing time spent listening to his voice in his Word? How might that habit transform your life?



DAY 5—Read Amos 9

Verses 2-3 would have reminded Amos’ audience of Psalm 139:7-10, where David uses a similar structure to highlight God’s omnipresence as well. How are the implications of the Lord being with David different from the nation of Israel’s sobering experience here?

In verses 11-12, we get the first glimpse of any possibility of future restoration. What does Amos mean by “the booth of David”? How do we see this prophecy fulfilled in the coming of Jesus?


APPLY—Amos concludes with a promise of abundant future blessing: not just water, but wine; instead of bare ground, beautiful gardens; not simply survival, but endless flourishing. How do we as Christians alreadyexperience these spiritual blessings of abundance (John 10:10)? In what ways have we not yetreceived these blessings in their entirety (Revelation 22:1-5)? What can you do today to both turn to Christ for refreshment and fix your eyes on his future coming?


Four Truths About the Minor Prophets

This summer we begin a series that walks through the books of the Bible known as the minor prophets. The Teaching Team won’t go through every verse in every book. We will do more of an overview. Our hope is to uncover the essential message of each minor prophet as it relates to one of its major themes: the love of God.

Some believers have gone their entire lives without reading these books. Maybe it’s because the minor prophets feel confusing, obscure, or simply too far removed from the New Testament. Others who have read them often have done so in a piecemeal format – reading a verse here or a brief passage there. Still, there are others who think these books are full of prophecies for the modern world and thus, must be read with a newspaper in hand. As far as the minor prophets go, misconceptions can easily abound.

So, in order to reduce some confusion and help us maximize our time in this series, here are four truths about the minor prophets that you might not have known.


They’re not called the minor prophets because they’re insignificant. 

There are four major prophets in the Old Testament: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. They are called major because of their length. Fun fact: these books are also ordered together in our English Bibles with only Lamentations stuck in the middle. Thus, the minor prophets, twelve books in all, are named so because they are comparatively short, not because they are of lesser importance.

The major and minor prophets are collectively known in the Hebrew Bible as the Latter Prophets (or Writing Prophets, because they authored their own works). This is because they came later in Israel’s history, as opposed to the earlier books of Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings. These books are referred to as the Former Prophets.


The prophetic books aren’t all prophecy.

To read any of the minor prophets is to find books composed of different genres of literature in addition to prophetic material. These writings also contain genres such as narrative, apocalyptic, wisdom, poetry, songs, and even sermons. This means that in interpreting these books well we must have different rules for reading different styles of writing. That may sound challenging but it’s worth it because it allows us to better understand the books as they were originally given.

For the record, if this kind of thing stresses you out, I highly recommend taking Clear Creek’s class “How To Study the Bible” in the fall. It will give you the tools and training to engage and interpret the different literary genres that we encounter in studying the Bible.


The prophecies in the minor prophets aren’t always about our future.

One of the most common misconceptions about the prophetic books is that the prophecies therein are entirely about the days and times still awaiting modern folks. We need to remember that those prophecies were meant for the original audience thousands of years ago. Many of those prophecies, while yet to be fulfilled in the future for them, actually came to pass centuries ago for us. Scholars Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart point out in their co-authored book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (page 166),that less than 2 percent of Old Testament prophecy has to do with Jesus, less than 5 percent deal with the New Covenant age (e.g., the age we currently reside), and less than 1 percent concerns events yet to come.



Prophets didn’t just spend time foretelling the future.

It is true that part of a prophet’s role was to foretell the future. The most popular Hebrew name for prophets was nabi which meant “called” and very likely was tied to the fact that these individuals were “called” by God and also “called out” to the people on God’s behalf. But prophets had additional functions central to their role. One helpful way to see this is in the difference between forthtelling and foretelling.

We rightfully think of the prophets as foretellers of the future. However, the prophets spent a lot of their time forthtelling. As scholar Sidney Greidanus notes, the prophets “uncover and point out the idolatry, the corruption, the injustice that exists under the veneer of religiosity, and they call for a radical change” in God’s people (The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, 230). Essentially, the prophets are God’s covenant enforcement mediators for ancient Israel. Much of reading the minor prophets is to see text after text not of a prophet predicting the future but calling Israel to be faithful to God’s ways in the present.


When you better understand the role of the prophets and the messages they gave in Scripture, the minor prophets can take on a whole new meaning for followers of Jesus. We just have to take the initiative to study these books. Many Christians are amazed at how texts written to God’s original covenant people can feel so timely and appropriate for for Christ’s New Covenant family today.

Not only is that my hope as we begin our series in the minor prophets but that we would be awash in amazement and gratitude for a God who not only redeems his people but cares how they live and love in the world in which he has placed them.



A Study of Joel: The Serious Love of God

In the summer 2020 message series “For the Love,” the Clear Creek Community Church Teaching Team will examine one of the least known sections of the Bible, the books known as the Minor Prophets, to better understand the great love of God and our faithful response to that love. Join with us in reading each book along the way! Each Sunday afternoon we will post an introductory video by The Bible Project and a 5-day reading plan with reflection questions to prepare you to hear the following Sunday’s message.

DAY 1—Read Joel 1:1-12

The book of Joel begins with the recounting of devastating tragedy. What natural disaster has affected the nation (v. 4-7)? What difficulties and disappointments are they facing?

In an agricultural society, the loss of crops was equivalent to a loss of life. What poetic comparison does Joel make in v. 8 in order to describe their mourning?


APPLY—As the locusts destroy their land, Joel’s countrymen watch their hopes disappear as “gladness dries up from the children of man” (v. 12). When have you faced this kind of loss? What does a godly grief look like when gladness feels impossible to find?



DAY 2—Read Joel 1:13-20

The second half of Chapter 1 begins by addressing Israel’s priests. How would the locust swarm have affected their responsibilities? How does he expect them to respond?

It seems that the locusts have been followed by more disaster. What difficulties have afflicted the land next (v. 17-20)?


APPLY—Joel ends the chapter with a description of the creation itself longing for God to meet their needs, for his judgment of Israel’s sin has affected the land as well as the people (v. 20). What sin do you need to turn away from today? What difference might that transformation make in the lives of your family and neighbors?





DAY 3—Read Joel 2:1-17

In Chapter 2, Joel connects an impending judgment to the destructive locusts and fire in the previous chapter. What is threatening the nation now? How will the land and people be affected?

“The day of the Lord” is a phrase frequently used by the biblical prophets to speak of a coming time of both judgment of evil and salvation for the righteous (v. 1, 11). Who is facing judgment in this passage? How does the Lord want them to respond, and what will happen if they do (v. 12-17)?


APPLY—Joel 2:13 contains a description of God’s character, using the same words that he proclaimed after the Israelites worshipped a golden calf at the base of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:6). The Lord is recalling his past mercies, reminding them that he always responds to repentance with grace. How have you experienced his forgiveness in your own life? How can a reminder of his compassion for you affect your willingness to turn back to him today (Hebrews 4:16)?



DAY 4—Read Joel 2:18-32

In today’s reading, we see the Lord’s compassionate reversal of the judgments of the first half of the book—not because of their righteousness, but simply as a gift of grace. In the chart below, identify the judgments found in the previous passages and the promises of renewal in Chapter 2.


God’s Judgment   Judgment Reversed
1:1-7 The locust swarm 2:24-26
1:10-12 2:23
1:19-20 2:21-22
2:1-11 2:20

Verse 27 promises that God will dwell among his people during this future renewal, both reminding them of his past presence in their midst and anticipating a greater fulfillment to come. What does John 1:14 reveal about how Joel’s prophecy has come to pass?


APPLY—On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the apostle Peter preached from Joel 2:28-32 in order to explain the day’s events to the crowd. The Holy Spirit had come in power to everyone who believed: young and old, rich and poor, slave and free. God was no longer simply dwelling amonghis people, but withinthem. What encouragement can you take from God’s promise to send his Spirit to live within you? How might his presence shape your daily choices, actions, and attitudes?




DAY 5—Read Joel 3

The final chapter of Joel begins with a reminder that God’s mercy is not universal. Who will be judged on the day of the Lord (v. 1-12)? In contrast, who will find a refuge in the Lord (v. 16)?

In verses 15-16, Joel describes the creation’s response to the Lord’s judgment. How do we see these same phenomena take place in Matthew 27:45-54? Who is receiving the wrath of God at the crucifixion, and who will receive salvation (Romans 5:6-9)?


APPLY—Joel concludes with a description of the Lord dwelling again in Jerusalem on Mt. Zion, in the midst of his people. In Revelation 21-22, John describes the New Jerusalem that we will inhabit following Christ’s return, using images that relate back to Joel’s writing. What do these images of peace and flourishing stir in your heart? How can a longing for eternity shape the way we walk with God and love others today?



A Study of Hosea: The Scandalous Love of God

In the summer 2020 message series “For the Love,” the Clear Creek Community Church Teaching Team will examine one of the least known sections of the Bible, the books known as the Minor Prophets, to better understand the great love of God and our faithful response to that love. Join with us in reading each book along the way! Each Sunday afternoon we will post an introductory video by The Bible Project and a 5-day reading plan with reflection questions to prepare you to hear the following Sunday’s message.

DAY 1—Read Hosea 1-3

In Chapter 1, Hosea is told to marry Gomer, a “wife of whoredom”—language that can feel shocking to us. She then abandons Hosea to pursue a life of sexual immorality. How is Gomer’s behavior representative of the nation of Israel? (1:2)

Chapter 2 gives us a poetic extension of the metaphor depicted by Hosea’s family. Who is the husband that Israel has spurned? Who are the lovers that Israel is pursuing? What does she believe that her lovers provide for her? Who is her true provider?


APPLY—Although the nation had forfeited many blessings because of their idolatry, Hosea still shares a hope of future restoration. How do we see this depicted in Chapter 3, both in Hosea’s marriage and in the nation of Israel? What hope can this give to followers of Jesus when we stray from obedience and intimacy with God?




DAY 2—Read Hosea 4-6

The remainder of the book contains the prophecies, or oracles, of Hosea—the messages he received from God to deliver to the nation of Israel. There are three types of oracles found throughout the books of the Prophets: warnings of judgment, calls to repentance, and promises of salvation. Which of these is most evident in the chapters you read today? What actions of his people have resulted in God’s response?

There are only a few verses in this chapter that provide a glimpse of hope to Hosea’s audience. Hosea 6:1-3 calls the Israelites to repentance with the promise of God’s mercy in return. When does the Lord promise to raise them to new life? How do we see this promise fulfilled in the New Testament? (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)


APPLY—Hosea’s promise that God “will raise us up, that we may live before him” is no longer just a future promise. Though we have not yet experienced bodily resurrection, believers have already been rescued from spiritual death through God’s mercy.  Read Ephesians 2:1-7. In what ways did our lives before Christ resemble the idolatrous behavior of the Israelites? How can God’s grace to us in Christ, despite our sin, give us a hope that will ultimately transform our lives?




DAY 3—Read Hosea 7-9

In Chapter 7, Hosea uses several examples of metaphorical language to describe the nation of Israel (also frequently referred to as Ephraim)? To what four things does Hosea compare them, and what characteristics does each seem to illustrate? The first has been completed for you.

Object of Comparison Characteristics of the People
v. 4-7 A heated oven Angry and rebellious
v. 8-9
v. 11-13
v. 16


In Chapter 8, Hosea reminds his listeners that this is not the first time that Israel has violated their covenant with the Lord. To what past rebellions is he referring in verses 4-6? (Check out Exodus 32:1-14 and 1 Kings 12:25-33.) Is God’s coming judgment an impulsive lashing-out or evidence of his patience and compassion?


APPLY—Chapter 9 continues the description of both the Israelites’ failure to honor God and the coming judgment that their behavior deserves. Why is it difficult at times for us to appreciate the Lord’s commitment to justice in the same way as his love or grace? What difference can it make when we attempt to know God in allthe ways he reveals himself?




DAY 4—Read Hosea 10-11

Chapter 10 continues Hosea’s indictment of Israel’s lack of faith. Where are they placing their faith instead? In what circumstances are you tempted to trust in your own way rather than God’s plan?

Hosea creates an extended analogy in Chapter 11, describing God as a loving father. Who is his child? What has the father done to care for his child? How has the child responded to the father’s care?


APPLY—Chapter 11 ends with a glimpse of hope that Israel will not be destroyed completely and permanently. Is this because Israel has changed their behavior (v. 12) or simply because of God’s love (v. 8)? In what ways have you experienced God’s grace in your own life, extending his compassion and blessings to you when you least deserve it?




DAY 5—Read Hosea 12-14

Hosea connects his nation to their historical context in Chapter 12 by retelling the story of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel by the Lord. Jacob was known as a deceiver from his earliest years (Genesis 25 & 27), yet he received a vision of God’s greatness and a promise of future blessing from the Lord (Genesis 28:10-22). Hosea argues that just as Jacob had to leave his home as a consequence of his behavior, so would the people of Israel be sent away from their land (v. 9). But hope can still be found in the commands given to Israel in verses 4-6. What are they commanded to do, and by whose help will they obey?

The history lesson doesn’t end with Jacob, for Hosea then gives more evidence of Israel’s record of disbelief. At the end of Chapter 12, he references the nation’s wandering in the wilderness (v. 9, 13), where they were forced to spend forty years after doubting God’s promise to bring them into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 1:19-2:15). This continues in Chapter 13—though God had provided for their needs in the wilderness, the nation failed to trust him even after they were brought into the land (v. 4-6). In what ways can comfort and complacency lead us into disbelief? How might we avoid this pitfall and continue in faith instead?


APPLY—In chapter 14, Hosea again pleads for Israel’s repentance, with a beautiful description of the blessings of a life lived under the mercy of God. Repentance always involves both turning fromsin and turning tothe Lord. What does Israel need to turn from? Why should repentance be a regular pattern in our lives, rather than a one-time event?


A People Not a Place?

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and local churches subsequently suspending in-person gatherings for the sake of public health, a popular statement you hear from spiritual leaders is that the church is a people not a place. 


The statement isn’t new. I’ve said it numerous times in the past. It’s even on our church website in big, bold letters. Originally, the phrase was employed to help prevent folks from equating church with a building or a worship service. It was a hard turn away from biblically inaccurate statements like, “I’m going to drive to church this Sunday,” or “Man, I loved church this morning.” Those sentiments expose a thin view of what the church really is. On the contrary, the church is God’s people on mission, which is much more than any corporate worship gathering or a building on a street corner. 


So, it is true: the church is a people not a place. 


And yet, if spending days sheltering-at-home has taught us anything, it’s highlighted the reality that the church is a people who, in living out the mission, do so (at least in part) by gathering in places. 


Don’t misunderstand. I am grateful that as we endure this global pandemic technology allows followers of Jesus to connect with their local churches via online services, virtual small groups, and the like. Make no mistake, this is a good and helpful thing when in eras past this would not be possible! 


But it’s also woefully inadequate.


If anything, these virtual venues only serve to highlight the need for the church to gather in-person. Being face-to-face, embracing each other, the gift of physical touch, and simply feeling each other’s presence in a room are specific dynamics technology cannot reproduce. And you don’t need to have some big theological epiphany to come to that conclusion. 


Don’t believe me?


Just start singing. 


The first Sunday we suspended in-person services I sat down in my living room with my wife and three boys to participate in our online gathering. The service opened with our worship leaders leading in song. We began to sing as well. And by we l mean me and Jennefer. My boys oscillated between mumbling and sitting in silence. Frankly, that’s not too different from any other Sunday. However, the biggest difference was not doing so within our congregation, of not seeing hands raised or heads bowed, of not experiencing the power of the chorus of voices, of not sensing the intimacy of attendance. That real absence gave me a greater appreciation for real presence. Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 5:19 for local churches to be about, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,” came home to me in a new way. Singing alone in our living room only pointed to the truth that, as part of the church of Jesus, we aren’t just a people but a people who gather in places. 


The word “church” in Greek – ekklesia literally means “the gathered ones” or “the assembly of people.” From meeting at the Temple in the Old Covenant to local churches in the New, the whole history of God’s people is about, among other things, regularly coming together in the name of the Lord. This shouldn’t surprise us. We are embodied people. We live in time and space. The way of the kingdom is to glorify God as embodied people – loving, embracing, touching, holding, supporting – coming together in real places. Being homebound as a nation has given me a deeper appreciation for the command of Hebrews 10:24-25 which says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 


It didn’t take long for me to miss being together with my church family in a physical place. And it shouldn’t. Even though the church is “a people, not a place” spread all across the globe yet carrying a unified purpose and mission, that same church thrives when it’s members gather together in very real places. We were never meant to be the church alone. 


Lord, hasten the day when we can meet in places again.


032: The Resurrection of Jesus – History or Hoax?

Did the resurrection really happen or was it all just made up? On this week of Easter, Ryan Lehtinen sat down with Bruce Wesley and Yancey Arrington to discuss the most compelling evidence for the historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus. They also talk about the hope the resurrection offers for us today.



Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham

“Historical Evidence for the Resurrection” by Matt Perman

028: What Does it Mean to be a “Gospel-Centered Church”?

Gospel Centrality is one of the core values of Clear Creek Community Church. Ryan Lehtinen talks with Bruce Wesley and Yancey Arrington about what it means to be gospel-centered, how it became a core value, and how it influences every aspect of the church.



Clear Creek Community Church Values

“What Is Gospel-Centered Ministry?” by Timothy Keller (conference video)

“Centrality of the Gospel” by Timothy Keller (article)

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller

Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson

Tap: Defeating The Sins That Defeat You by Yancey Arrington


025: The Big Picture – How the Whole Bible Points to Jesus

The Bible is comprised of 66 books, written over a period of 1,500 years, in three different languages, by at least 40 authors, and yet it is one cohesive story of God’s redemption of the world. Ryan Lehtinen talks with Doug Dawson about his journey to understand the big picture of the Bible and how the gospel of grace found in Christ is the culmination of the entire biblical narrative.


The Holy Bible

Big Picture of the Bible class

God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughn Roberts

Gospel and Kingdom by Graeme Goldsworthy

The Scriptures Testify about Me by D.A. Carson

The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament by Edmund P. Clowney

The Bible Project

Exploring My Strange Bible (Podcast)

Help Me Teach The Bible (Podcast)


023: How Can I Follow God When Those Who Follow Him Seem Intolerant?

On this episode, we continue discussing questions people have about faith, God, or the church as part of our “Here’s My Issue” message series. Ryan Lehtinen sits down with Yancey Arrington and Lance Lawson to address those who question following God because they view those who follow him as intolerant and hateful.

Starting Point – Class
Go Local – Find ways to love and serve our community
The Reason for God by Tim Keller
A New Kind of Apologist by Sean McDowell


020: The Problem of Evil/Suffering and How Can There Be Only One True Religion?

In our message series called “Here’s My Issue,” we kick off 2020 talking about barriers or issues that some people may have with faith, God, or the church. Over the next three weeks on the podcast, we’re going to discuss some of the major questions often raised. On this episode, Ryan Lehtinen sits down with Yancey Arrington and Aaron Lutz to discuss the questions—If God exists, then why is there evil and suffering in the world?  And how can there only be one true religion?

The Reason for God by Tim Keller
Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel