Pastor Jason 08.11.19 Nehemiah- The Culture of We- Us- The Power of Us
-What did this message speak to you?
-What are your thoughts as you hear Pastor Jason’s heart/vision for Good News?
-What action are you sensing you need to take?
-What is missing in your life for you to be ready for action? What can be done about it?
-Nehemiah 1:5-10 NIV **All scriptures are listed at the end of the notes
History of text:
– Israel had been in captivity for 70 years by the Babylonians, and they burned down their temples along with destroying their walls.
– 539 BC: Cyrus, the Persian king, conquers the world and overthrows Babylon. Now, Israel finds themselves under the rule of Persia.
- Isaiah prophesied this 200 years before
– 536 BC: Cyrus allows Ezra to take 50, 000 people to rebuild the temple and their community.
- Ezra would work 80 years- building spiritual community, returning to God’s law and rebuilding the temple.
-The book of Nehemiah begins about 15 years after Ezra, and approximately 450 years before Jesus.
- Nehemiah means God comforts
-Ezra and Nehemiah are pictures of the spiritual (Ezra) and practical (Nehemiah)
- Sometimes people treat these two principles as opposites, but both principles are necessary! Often times, one leads to the other.
-Nehemiah was called to build; structure, walls for protection, community, and to rebuild the temple for worship .
-Vision:the ability to see
-Andy Stanley states vision is the tension between what is and would could be.
-Ideas and opinions are formed in the mind.
- Vision is birthed in the heart.
-Those of us who are futuristic by design, if not careful, can begin to be consumed by everything that is not. Instead, we should be focusing on the good of what is, what could be, and should be.
-In a culture of opinions, vision is needed.
- It brings commitment to bringing change.
- Vision won’t let you settle.
- Vision won’t let you quit. Vision does not care how you feel, or if things seem too costly, dangerous and impossible.
- Vision simply demands you do something about it.
- Vision is the thing that won’t let you fall asleep at night and will wake you up too early in the morning. It will provoke you, harass you and it will consistently knock on the door of your life until you do something.
-Even when all has been stripped away, true vision remains because it was never about the benefits, promotion, money or the glory anyway.
-A God-given Vision grips you heart and soul. You may deny it, try to hide and even run from it, but it is always there. A God-given vision always comes down to the people it is supposed to help and the transformation God wants to bring.
So, this question remains: what are we going to do about it?
1. God-given vision grips the heart- it deeply moves you.
A.) God-given vision is always about others, and is starts as a burden.
– Nehemiah 1:4 — Nehemiah wept
- He is still engaged, because he is following and hoping to hear good news.
- Have you ever felt powerless over something in life?
- Maybe you feel powerless over the brokenness of life, but the desire to see it changed never leaves.
- It actually compels you to prayby seeking God’s guidance on how, when and what.
– Share an experience.
– For Nehemiah, broken walls meant broken people.
- Walls created safety and community
B.)Broken walls meant needing to restore broken relationships to God
- Unfinished temple (church) meant broken worship
- There is brokenness in our church- people, marriages, addiction, abuse, etc..
- There is brokenness in our community
– Has it gripped you enough to seek God in prayer consistently?
- Prayer is a powerful bonding agent for relationship.
- It is like breathing: breathe Him in, breathe out your thoughts, cares, worship, etc…
- Prayer is really about intimacy
- Does intimate prayer come easily to you? Why or why not?
2. God given vision needs a plan:
– Nehemiah was the Cupbearer- he had to wait on the Lord because his job doesn’t allow him to go and see the true condition of the walls.
– Psalm 27:14 – waiting-eagerly, expectation, hopefully wait, expectant, patiently wait.
- Faith waits expectantly but it also prepares
- Nehemiah used the time to prepare- he was not sitting passively. This is important!
– Nehemiah has to recognize what is wrong, and then what to do about it.
- Don’t waste your seasons
– This is why we need to see the world around us, ask God how it should be, and let Him give you a picture.
– If we are not careful, we will spend our strength complaining about what God is asking us to engage in. Anyone guilty of this?
– The king asked “What do you need?” and Nehemiah was prepared with requests to give him. Nehemiah told the king about the broken walls and his people.
- Nehemiah had to wait for an opportunity, and his faithfulness to his job provided favor from the king.
- Sometimes the opportunity doesn’t come to us because we are not ready.
- Also because we have not been faithful in our current assignment, or we lack character and we can’t recognize the need.
-Have you recognized this in your own life before? What have you learned through the process?
-Nehemiah 2:8 NIV
-Ezra 7:6 Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.
– He walked the wall- looked for what was needed, and he didn’t tell a bunch of people.
– If God is asking for you to step out- Evaluate before you initiate- Don’t over think it, but please think about it.
- God is the ultimate initiator and the finisher.
– Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
– Let’s rise and build
3. God given vision needs a team (help):
– Now it becomes action
– V 5: The nobles did not want to help.
- There will always be people, even those we count on who are opposed to change.
– V 8: People stepped outside of their profession to help.
– V 12: The ruler and his daughters.
– V 22: It got people from other areas to respond.
– V 30-31
– Repair/repaired, made repairs, built: are all words mentioned 41 times in 32 verses.
– This is a picture of the church at work to make the changes that are needed.
- Of course, there was opposition, internally and externally. There is always going to be opposition.
-We have been in a repair or build season for the past 3-4 months, and we have discovered some of our challenges. Most of these challenges are internal:
– We lack continuity.
– We need to empower others better (non-paid staff).
– We have not taught people to disciple- life on life.
– We lack new expressions of ministry in and outside the church.
– We have tried to disciple people through preaching- Sunday cannot be the barometer.
- – We lack community space to do life together. This church is set up for ministry not koinonia[B3] (Noun: Christian fellowship or communion, with God or, more commonly, with fellow Christians.)
. We lack space to just hang out and eat together.
- We lack a gathering place.
– We need to be willing to spend energy. Change is costly, and it requires hard conversations, planning, and new job descriptions all to make us better.
-Multiplication: We need to multiply ourselves through Leadership Development, and by empowering others.
– Our teams will now begin learning and implementing our Leadership Development Process.
– We have only truly trained for ministry teams, not kingdom ministry as a whole.
- This answers part of the problem, but it still does not solve the main issue.
– There are people who want to serve the church, but they can’t find their fit.
– We have not come alongside our marketplace Christians to help them succeed in their growth, not only as a Christian, but also in their field.
-I would like to see a business culture created to help empower people to live and lead well.
– A full Leadership Development Process will build bridges into the community, and to Christ.
- It is us being both Spiritual and practical (Ezra and Nehemiah)
-This also causes a tension of who we have available to hire because it requires one to be skilled, yet able to work at a discount.
- It’s when the job becomes ministry.
Discipleship: we need to disciple people better.
– Mentorship: We need more life on life. We aren’t set up well for this currently.
– Need more cross-generational discipleship and impartation.
– More small groups who have a particular focus.
– Business Community: Christians teaching business and vocational discipleship.
– Young Adult’s: We need to restore, and create more consistency.
– Men’s Group: We have not had a men’s ministry in 26 years, and men need discipleship.
– Marriages: Marriage has not been a priority, and they are in desperate need.
-Of all places on the earth the church should be the place to discover purpose. It should be the incubation place to walk in God’s call for your life, whether in church ministry or in marketplace ministry.
-We should be weary of outsourcing to the world what God wants to do through us instead.
1. Pray: God what do you have a burden for? Am I just complaining, or outsourcing what I see, rather than responding as God is asking of me?
2. Think strategically of what we need inside and outside the church.
3. What would I do? What is my plan? Then, when the time is right, do something!
4. Be About It: We need to position people in the gates.
5. Holy Spirit and Practical are a must, just like Nehemiah.
6. We need to know our identity and have depth to be able to invest in and lead others
-The good hand of God was with Nehemiah as he was faithful to do what needed to be done. Likewise, it will be with us too.
- This is going to happen.
-Nehemiah 1:5-10 NIV 5 Then I said:“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
-Nehemiah 1:4 NIV 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Psalm 27:14 NIV Wait[a] on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;Wait, I say, on the Lord!
-Nehemiah 2:8 NIV 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.
-Ezra 7:6 NKJV 6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
-Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
V5 NKJV Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their [a]shoulders to the work of their Lord.
V8 NKJV 8 Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, [a]one of the perfumers, made repairs
V12 NKJV And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.
V28 NKJV Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.
V30-31 NKJV 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his [a]dwelling. 31 After him Malchijah, [b]one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the [c]Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner.