REBUILD Series – Nehemiah

//REBUILD Series – Nehemiah

REBUILD Series – Nehemiah

As we go through this sermon series you will quickly observe Nehemiah’s successes and failures as a leader, but you will also see something greater in the background: God’s faithfulness to His unfaithful people.

In a similar way, that is exactly what we have seen in our church in recent days as we begin to REBUILD. Our task  in this moment is not to be about bricks of stone, but we are to turn our hearts toward God and trust Him to finish His work in us.

Continuing The Conversation

A deeper study of God’s Word during the week

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Pastor Russell Howard

As we began our walk through Nehemiah this morning, part of what I shared centered on the passion with which Nehemiah begged God to remember His own Word (which speaks to His character and promises) to act on behalf of His people.

I didn’t chase this down this morning, but I think there’s something else important about this prayer:  Nehemiah never told God, specifically, what God had to do.  He never “claimed” a specific outcome.  There’s a lot of noise in our day about praying “in faith,” where the one praying is said to be trusting God for a particular outcome.  It sounds like, “Lord, I am praying in faith claiming Your healing for my sore elbow.”

That’s a distortion of James 1:6-7, and a dangerous one at that.   Telling God what Hemust do is not faith; it’s presumption.  The true prayer of faith is a prayer that praises the Lord for what He has done, and for what He can do, while humbly sharing the desires of my heart  (James 1:5, 4:2, Philippians 4:6).  It’s what Nehemiah did in Nehemiah 1.

SO, what do you think about the distinction between presumption and faith?

Pastor David Miller

One of the things I didn’t get to this morning in the message was fully fleshing out the issue of criticism.  That could be a sermon all by itself.  Not only are their many Proverbs that deal with the topic, but I personally can think of plenty of examples when I’ve been criticized unfairly by others and also when I’ve wrongly criticized others.  The assumption I made this morning is that Sanballat & Tobiah’s heckling in Nehemiah 2:19 was unjust criticism and I do believe that is clear in the text, particularly as you continue to read through Nehemiah.

But recently, a friend gave me a resource that reminded me that criticism from others is not always a bad thing.  In Psalm 141:5, David makes the case that we can actually find benefit through criticism from others:

Let the righteous one strike me
it is an act of faithful love;
let him rebuke me
it is oil for my head;
let me not refuse it.

It’s natural to take pain from other people’s criticism, but the Scripture actually reminds me (& you) that there can be gain in receiving criticism as well.  If my default mode is to always think that criticism of me is automatically inaccurate until proven otherwise, I’d sorta be ascribing the trait of infallibility to myself.  That’s probably not a good idea, just ask my wife.  I have blind spots which means by definition, I can’t see them.  That means I need other people, well-meaning or otherwise, to help me see those blind spots.  I have come to learn over the years that in God’s sovereignty, He sometimes uses what seems to me to be ugly criticism to show me something about myself that I need to deal with and repent from.

Maybe that’s why James 1:19 tells us to “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”  🙂

How about you?  Have you ever seen the goodness of God in someone else’s criticism of you?  Has criticism ever been “an act of faithful love” or an “oil” for your head?

Pastor Russell Howard

It’s hard to be patient, isn’t it?

There have been those voices that have expressed a desire that we “hurry up” and “get on with it” in terms of searching for our next Lead Pastor.   It’s not hard to understand.  We live in a world of instant-on devices, impulse decisions, driven living, and  . . . . well . . . . speed.  It’s as though rapid movement is seen as a universally accepted virtue.

But is it?  Really?

What does the Word of God say about hurrying?  Which of the Fruit of the Spirit describe getting things done quickly?  What can we learn from God’s Word about the pace with which we approach things that truly matter?

Dr. Dan Allen

Here are some recommended resources”

Videos

The Overcoming Life (for couples) – Jimmy Evans, RightNow Media*

God Will Make a Way (leadership) – Henry Cloud, RightNow Media*

Nehemiah (8 sessions) – Matt Chandler, RightNow Media*

Adversity – Burden Or Bridge? – In Touch Ministries  Aired On 25 Nov 2012

*Get a free account for RightNow Media.  Learn More.

Books

How to Handle Adversity Paperback – September 1, 2002
by Charles Stanley (Author)

Pastor Russell Howard

Have you ever been hurt be someone inside the Body of Christ? DO NOT post any names. Keep it polite and respectful, but how did it make you feel? Did the leaders of your church take a healthy position to help resolve the conflict, or were you on your own? What do you see in scripture about the church and our obligation(s) to one another?

I listed a few resources on the bottom of the sermon notes page that I believe compliment Nehemiah 8.  Mark Dever’s book “What is a Healthy Church?” has entire chapters on both the importance of biblical theology and on expositional preaching in the local church. Donald Whitney’s book “Family Worship,” goes with my challenge to parents to lead a daily time to read the Bible, sing & pray with their kids. And of course, for my last resource listed, who wouldn’t love listening to Alistair Begg preach a much better sermon than mine today on Nehemiah 8 entitled “Assembled Under the Word?” View this message or listen to the audio here.

But in the crush of a busy week, I forgot to mention a resource that I believe is one of the most helpful books in terms of reminding us what God’s Word is all about. It’s actually a children’s Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones called “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” Now those who know me well are already are aware that I’m NOT a fan of most children’s Bibles. I have thrown away more of them than I’ve kept. Way too many of them send the message that the Bible is simply a collection of smaller stories that are mere morality tales about good people & bad people.

In fact, whenever I look at a children’s Bible, the first thing I do is turn to the story of Noah to see the approach it takes. Most of the time, the gist of that story is pitched as God looked around the world and only found one good guy (Noah) and so God spared him & his family and he’s the hero of the story. So the message ends up being “Be a good kid and you too can be liked by God and be your own hero.” Well, that’s just nauseating & it’s not true. The Bible only has one hero and His name is Jesus and the Scriptures unfold God’s great rescue plan of sinners like you, me and Noah from the judgement that we all rightly deserve exactly like those who perished in the flood. Noah’s story points forward to how God, in His grace, provides the ark of Jesus in which sinners can take refuge from the judgement we deserve and be spared. Noah is not the hero, Jesus is. When he landed on dry ground, Noah’s heroic next step was to get drunk and naked, but you don’t find that part in most Children’s Bibles.

The Jesus Storybook Bible is different and it beautifully captures the larger story arc of the Bible. It’s not just for kids. My family spent several months going through it at our family worship time and I believe it is one of the best resources I have found for both adults and children in a long time. I just gave away my own personal copy to our translator on our Peru Mission trip. My family and I spent a went at a Joni & Friends Camp this past summer and the young woman who was the “buddy” for our boys all week was a fairly new believer, so we recommended The Jesus Storybook Bible to her. If you’ve ever gotten bogged down or lost in the individual stories found in the Bible, TJSB keeps you focused on the main point of the Bible, Jesus.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, I recommend this resource to you. I get no kick backs from Sally and TJSB shouldn’t replace your own study Bible, but it is a great tool for family worship and it is a helpful resource as you study your Bible. There will be moments as you read it that you will have the same response to God’s Word as the people did in Nehemiah 8. You’ll weep just like they wept because you’ll be reminded of God’s great rescue plan for sinners made possible only by Jesus, the real hero of the Bible.

View on Amazon 

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Well, it’s over. Can you believe that our 12 week study of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah has already come to an end? I know. . . I can’t either.

So let’s look back and chat about what impacted you most. What is your takeaway from this series for you personally? What is your takeaway for McGregor as a local Body of Christ? What do you think God has in store for our church in the future?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Grace & Peace,

David Miller – Associate Pastor of Membership

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David Miller - November 15, 2015

REBUILD: Nehemiah 13, “The Failure Of God’s People”

REBUILD: Nehemiah 13, “The Failure Of God’s People” David Miller Associate Pastor of Membership Sunday Morning November 15, 2015

From Series: "Nehemiah"

As we go through this sermon series you will quickly observe Nehemiah’s successes and failures as a leader, but you will also see something greater in the background: God’s faithfulness to His unfaithful people.

More From "Nehemiah"

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A child of the exile, Nehemiah arrives in the city of Jerusalem in 445 B.C. during a painful time for God’s people. Wisely and prayerfully, he is used of God to unite the people to REBUILD the walls of the ruined city in the midst of on-going opposition to the work God had called them to.

So what’s broken in you?  What needs to be rebuilt?

2017-03-13T15:43:48-04:00