Groundwork: Biblical Foundations for Life-logo

Groundwork: Biblical Foundations for Life

Christian Talk

Groundwork is a half-hour conversation that digs deeply into Scripture, the foundation for our lives. Each week, pastors Dave Bast (president of Words of Hope) and Scott Hoezee (director of CEP at Calvin Seminary) cultivate our understanding of God's Word by unpacking the richness of the Bible and applying it with insight to today's world.


Holland, MI


Groundwork is a half-hour conversation that digs deeply into Scripture, the foundation for our lives. Each week, pastors Dave Bast (president of Words of Hope) and Scott Hoezee (director of CEP at Calvin Seminary) cultivate our understanding of God's Word by unpacking the richness of the Bible and applying it with insight to today's world.




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Love God By Loving One Another

As the apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Romans, he instructs this early community of believers regarding how they should handle their differences. He knows that differences and disagreements are inevitable because the good news of the gospel calls people of many ages, backgrounds, and experiences. In Romans chapters 14-16, we find Paul’s instructions for Christian living, teachings that continue to help us understand how we can live together today as changed and changing people. Paul shares practical ways we can love our neighbor and reminds us that sometimes showing love means choosing not to do something. Join us and be reminded of the heart of Paul’s message: love for God and love for each other.


Transformed Living

As the apostle Paul continues to unpack the new realities of life for the early Roman Christians, he challenges them to live transformed lives—lives worthy of the grace and mercy they received in Jesus. Join us to study Paul’s teaching in Romans 12-13 and discover how we might live in light of the gospel, renew our minds, and be living sacrifices for God. Let’s walk with Paul through the process of discerning what transformed living means for our civic life. And finally, let us reflect on Paul’s declaration that love is at the heart of a transformed life. As Christ followers today we can demonstrate the same love and compassion as Jesus Christ because of the help of the Holy Spirit. So how are we putting on Christ and being conformed to his likeness, and not conformed to the pattern of this world?


In His Mercy, God Chose You

When loved ones don’t believe in Jesus despite being raised by Christian parents or growing up in church, it can leave us with deep aches and painful questions about God’s sovereign choices and our free will. The apostle Paul understood this ache and wrestling. Even as he celebrated the inclusion of Gentile believers into God’s family through faith in Jesus, he was distraught by what this same truth meant for Jews who did not come to believe in Jesus. In Romans 9-11, Paul laments his concern for the Jews and demonstrates what it looks like to turn to Scripture to seek wisdom for the concerns of our hearts. Join us as we dig into Paul’s teaching, a teaching that informs what we today call the doctrine of predestination. May we find comfort in the truth that God, in his mercy, has chosen us. Like Paul, may the truth of God’s mercy give us hope and assurance that God is patient and there is still time for those we love to believe and receive salvation in Jesus Christ.


The Spirit in Us

If there’s one thing that Paul wants believers to understand, it is that the power of the gospel is life-changing. In his letter to the Romans, he details why we so desperately need the gospel and how the good news of salvation is for all people. In Romans 8, Paul turns to answering the question “Now what?” Join us as we unpack Paul’s writings about our justification—our being made right with God—and what it means for us to be IN CHRIST. Find encouragement and comfort in Paul’s teaching about pain and suffering in this world, and how we have help from the Holy Spirit, to live into the reality of our new life in Christ. And the best, most assuring truth of all? Paul assures us nothing can take our salvation away or separate us from Jesus Christ.


Our New Life in Christ

After Paul writes his summary of the gospel and explains the purpose of God’s law, he turns to a very important topic: making sure that the believers in Rome understand just how much God loves them. A truth we can all continue to cling to today. By studying Paul’s writing about the implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we gain a better understanding of the Christian doctrines of justification and sanctification. We are reminded that we are indeed saved through God’s grace and made right with God through our faith alone—nothing we do saves us. Finally, we reflect on Paul’s pivotal point: salvation is for all people, not just the Jews. Join us in studying Paul’s teaching so that we might remember the good news of salvation and glean wisdom for the struggles we experience while we are becoming more Christ-like.


Why We Need the Gospel

Why do we need the gospel? How is the gospel relevant to my life? In the opening chapters of Romans, the apostle Paul records concise explanations to these questions, and his teaching remains greatly beneficial for all believers. In this episode, we’ll begin by looking together in the book of Acts to establish the context for Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Then we’ll turn to Romans to study and discuss Paul’s summary of the gospel, his explanation of the purpose of God’s law, and the problem of sin. Lastly, we’ll explore what Paul says about how we are transformed, where we can turn for hope, and what all of this means for our lives today.


God is in Charge, Now and Forever

Daniel was a prophet who could interpret others’ dreams. Many of us are quite familiar with the stories of Daniel interpreting the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. But God also spoke to Daniel in his own dreams—dreams in which God revealed important truths about the End Times. Daniel’s apocalyptic dreams are full of complex symbolism and otherworldly images. At times, they can be mystifying. Christians throughout history have tried to precisely identify the meaning of each and every number and image found in Daniel’s dreams. However, when we study Daniel 7-12 and focus solely on finding correlations or solving puzzles, we can miss the important overarching truths. Join us as we study Daniel’s dreams and prayer to find assurance of God’s constancy and power, and to remember that only God’s kingdom will endure forever. Let us rejoice together that we can entrust our lives to God because he alone is sovereign now and always.


Trusting God When Evil Abounds

At some point in life, each of us will find ourselves in a situation that is simply unfair. We try our best to live moral lives that honor God, but sometimes it feels like the world wants to punish us for it. When we experience this kind of injustice, it can lead us to ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And when unfair circumstances threaten our way of life, it can be tempting to compromise our beliefs and values in order to protect ourselves and preserve our way of life. But the Bible is clear that God is with us in those difficult circumstances. The story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is a reminder that we are not on our own and that God is able to deliver his people. Join us in studying Daniel 6 and discover the courage to trust God and remain steadfast in our faith, even when evil seems to be winning.


A Lesson in Accountability and Consequences

“You reap what you sow.” “Cause and effect.” “Actions have consequences.” There is truth in these common phrases, but it can be easy for us to forget such wisdom in the heat of a moment. When we face difficult decisions, we often wish for a clear and obvious divine message from God, but it is important to remember that much of what we need or desire to know, we can already find in the Bible. When we are tempted to seek power and glory for ourselves, it is valuable for us to revisit the story of “the hand writing on the wall” in Daniel, chapter 5. As Daniel interprets the meaning of this divine message for King Belshazzar, we learn a great deal about the relationship between accountability, consequences, and our faith. And we are reminded and assured that God is in control, sovereign over all, and that he deserves all the glory.


Faith in the Fire

Living faithfully in this world isn’t always easy. At times, we all experience pressure to compromise our faith. Sometimes, it can feel easier to just go along with what is culturally accepted. Other times, we may fear the attention that standing firm in the convictions of our faith can bring. And even other times it can be especially difficult to maintain our resolve in the midst of daunting opposition. At these moments, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace can provide us with great hope, and encourage us to stand firm, trust God, and remain faithful even in the most challenging of circumstances. Join us as we dig into Daniel 3 to be reminded that in all situations, God is with us—helping, strengthening, and protecting us. When we trust God and refuse to compromise our faith, God is glorified.


God is Sovereign Over All

Our lives are filled with changing situations and circumstances beyond our control. When we experience injustice or lack power over aspects of our own lives, it can be tempting to question if God is present in our situation. We can begin to wonder if God is even able to help us in the face of unjust authority. The Israelites living in exile under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar likely experienced similar challenges to their faith. But in Daniel 2 and 4, God reminds us of his sovereignty through the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. As Daniel retells the king’s dreams and interprets them, we find hope because those dreams remind us that in all things, no matter the situation, God is sovereign and in control.


When Our Faith Defines Our Character

When we lack control over our circumstances or when our culture pressures us to compromise our faith, it can be difficult to stay committed to following God’s commands and living out what we believe. Daniel and his Jewish friends knew what it was like to live in a culture that was not particularly welcoming to their faith practices. As the book of Daniel opens, we meet Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—four young Jewish men preparing to serve the Babylonian king. Join us as we unpack the context in which the book of Daniel takes place. We’ll discuss how and why the Israelites found themselves living in exile in Babylon and study the challenges these four young men faced in Daniel 1. Together, let’s witness what God can do when we let our faith, not our context, define our character.


Stand Firm in the Reality of Christ's Resurrection

After the Apostle Paul started the church in Corinth, others came after him that began to teach the Corinthian Christians differently. These false teachers were challenging Paul’s teaching on the resurrection, a crucial and important truth at the heart of the Christian faith. Influenced by the culture around them, they suggested that Christ’s resurrection was not a true, physical, bodily resurrection. As Paul responds to these false teachings, he is adamant that it is necessary to believe in the truth of Christ’s bodily resurrection. Discover what Paul says are the consequences for our faith if Jesus is not raised from the dead and why this truth is crucial to the gospel message. Learn from Paul’s message to the Corinthians why you can continue to stand firm today on the truth and reality of Christ’s resurrection.


Love: the Guiding Principle for Christian Living

Every church is made up of broken, sinful believers redeemed by the blood of Christ. But far too often our human condition gets the better of us and we argue, disagree, inflict pain on one another, and sometimes even experience a break in a relationship. This reality is not unique to the modern church. The Corinthian church struggled with unity too. They did not care for one another as they should have and the church had an almost clique-like mentality. In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul calls their behavior unacceptable and instructs them to make Christ-like love their guiding principle for their thoughts, motives, and actions. He also gives them further teaching on spiritual gifts so they can better understand the value of each of their members. Studying Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian Christians provides guidance for us still today as we seek to worship and live well together in community.


Understanding Christian Freedom

Freedom is a value most of us cherish and protect. But what happens when our personal freedom is in direct conflict with someone else’s personal freedom? How do our Christian faith and our freedom in Christ help us navigate these conflicts and make it possible to continue living in unity? And how can we be sure that our efforts to live in unity don’t compromise our integrity or cause us to become lukewarm or wishy-washy Christians? Join us as we study the Apostle Paul’s guidance to the early Christians in 1 Corinthians to discover the wisdom we seek to reconcile these questions. Discover why Paul does not equate personal freedom with Christian freedom and why remembering the second Greatest Commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39)—helps us embrace our Christian freedom more fully.


Sex, Food, and Faith-Informed Choices

How does faith in God affect the daily choices you make? Sometimes, it’s easy or clear to see how faith influences a decision. Should I steal? No, that wouldn’t be the choice of a faithful Christian. But other things are less clear. Can I enjoy sex or is it sinful? Can I eat anything I want or do I need to be more discerning? The early Christians in Corinth had many questions about how they should best honor God through their choices and they sought advice from the Apostle Paul. Let’s study Paul’s guidance to the Corinthians so that we can glean his wisdom and gain a better understanding of God’s vision for how we honor and glorify him through our choices and how our faith informs how we act—in our personal lives, in our relationships, and in our communities.


You Belong to Jesus! Act Like it.

The early Christians in the Corinthian church had many questions about how their faith impacted various aspects of their lives. You might be surprised that many of the topics the Apostle Paul advised them on in his letter are things we’re still wrestling with today: sexuality and sexual immorality, accountability in the life of the church, and lawsuits or disagreements among believers. Discover why in each of these situations Paul admonished believers to remember their identity as those baptized in Christ and to act accordingly.


Only Glorify Jesus

As humans, we almost can’t help but make comparisons. But when comparing distracts us from what’s true and what’s important, then it becomes unhelpful and even problematic. The Christians in Corinth struggled with a comparison problem. As Paul addresses their problem in 1 Corinthians, he offers not only the Corinthians, but us too a valuable perspective on power, authority, and leadership in the church, and a vital reminder that Christ is the foundation upon which we should build all things. Together, let’s study Paul’s guidance to the Corinthians to gain a better understanding of what it means to dwell in Christ and live and work as believers today.


Holy People, God's Wisdom, and the Power of the Cross

The Apostle Paul opens his letter to the Corinthian church by addressing those who are "sanctified and called." But we quickly discover that much like ourselves, the Corinthian church was full of imperfect believers sorting out the impact of their faith on how they lived in the world. In the opening chapters of this letter, Paul reminds believers that God’s wisdom may not make sense by the world’s standards, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Join us in digging into Paul’s reminder that when we are confused or need help discerning God’s way, we should return back to the basics and the heart of the gospel message.


For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Forever. Amen.

For centuries, Christians around the world have concluded the Lord’s Prayer the same way: “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” However, these meaningful words are not in the prayer Jesus teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 or Luke 11, so where do we get them? Join us as we conclude our study of the Lord’s Prayer by studying the scriptural sources that give credence to this historically accepted conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer. Together we’ll discuss the importance of these words, what we mean when we say them, and why we end the Lord’s Prayer this way.