“Help Where We Can”

Date: 02-07-15

Text: — Nehemiah 3:1-2 — Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2 The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zaccur son of Imri built next to them.  [NIV84]

The Big Idea: When rebuilding the walls of broken relationship, we not only start with the obvious, but we also help out where our gifts sets can best be used, and if not, then pick up a broom and start sweeping or a shovel and start clearing debris.

My Thoughts: 

For many of us we hesitate to read this section of Scripture (or any section of Scripture for that matter) when it has some rather difficult names for us to pronounce. And yet there is much to be harvested from this section of the Word. One truth from the above passage is that we are to help where we can.  When rebuilding the walls of broken relationship, we not only start with the obvious, but we also help out where our gifts sets can best be used, and if not, then pick up a broom and start sweeping or a shovel and start clearing debris….

Lifestyle worshipers, maybe you have become discouraged or frustrated in your attempts to rebuild relationships that have been broken for some time. I truly empathize with this. Beyond continuing in prayer for the situation, perhaps starting with some small act of kindness? A text? An email? A letter? Or maybe cleaning their room or front yard? Our Lord can surely prompt you with some task that can encourage you and bless ‘them’. Why not ask Him today? Then go do it….

Yes, maybe it is time to help where you can? What do you think? Care to share your thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

— Colossians 4:5 (NIV84)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,

— Ecclesiastes 6:10a (NIV84)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

— Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV84)

  Lord Jesus Christ,  be in me today what ________ needs. May I hear Your voice and obey Your promptings. Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to live a life that is pleasing to You.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Start with the Obvious”

Date: 02-05-15

Text: — Nehemiah 3:10 — Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him.  [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Maybe it is time to address this and start with the obvious.

My Thoughts: 

As the people of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day began to rebuild the wall, they did something rather obvious and simple: The started with the obvious. This “obvious” was right outside their front door (see v. 10 above). When rebuilding the wall, they all worked together doing their part, and many started in the obvious place….

Lifestyle worshipers, many want to serve the Lord in distant lands, and this is very good. We need many, many more to capture this mission. But most of us do not have this burden. And what I have noticed is we will distract ourselves with all sorts of ‘distant’ busyness, and not really repair the walls of relationships just outside our front doors. For whatever fear we distract ourselves, the irony is the rejection has already happened; the hope of ever repairing the relationship eludes us. So what do we have to lose in attempting to fix those relationships that are right outside our front door?

Yes, maybe it is time to address this and start with the obvious? What do you think? Care to share your thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

— Mark 5:18-19 (NIV84)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

— Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV84)

  Lord Jesus Christ,  instill in me a courage that will overcome my fears of rebuilding the relationships that are nearest to me.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Messages in Winter”

Date: 01-04-15

Text: — Nehemiah 1:1-2 — The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Very sad (or even ‘bad’) news in your life—right now—can be but the prompting for a great work the LORD has prepared in advance for you to walk in.

My Thoughts: 

Even when things seem the darkest and the coldest we can receive messages from the LORD. The month of Kislev (v. 1) is Nov-Dec in our calendar. The citadel of Susa is the winter palace for the King. While there, Nehemiah receives very sad news: His people are in great trouble and disgrace. Now we who know the rest of the story know that this is merely the prompting from a great work the LORD has prepared in advance for Nehemiah to walk in….

And, Lifestyle worshipers, some very sad (or even ‘bad’) news in your life—right now—can be but the prompting for a great work the LORD has prepared in advance for you to walk in. So how do you receive this news?

This is the question I ask myself, too. I know we have to read ahead to see how Nehemiah receives the news, but I truly want to be like him here. Join me in seeking the LORD’s face as we look with hope to the future through this very sad news. I cannot imagine what the LORD has in store for us? Can you?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

   Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

— Matthew 6:26 (NIV84)

    For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

— Ephesians 2:10 (NIV84)

   Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

— 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV84)

Heavenly Father,  I wait on You to lead me into the good work You have prepared in advance for me to walk in. Lord Jesus Christ, be courage in me as I take the first steps in my winter towards it.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“What’s In a Job Title?”

 

Date: 12-31-14

Text: — Nehemiah 1:1 — O 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.” I was cupbearer to the king. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Do not let your job title hold you back from fulfilling what the Lord has laid on your heart.

My Thoughts: 

Nehemiah closes off the first chapter with his job title, “I was cupbearer to the king.” Yes, he was highly trusted. He would taste the wine and the food before the king would eat it. He was the poison detector, if you will. A high risk job, eh? This means, on one hand, he was highly trusted, but on the other, highly expendable. I wonder if Nehemiah made friends in high places to prevent any poisonings; what do you think?

Many have pride in their jobs, but some live for the job title, the glamour of high powered titles like CEO, CFO, president, vice president, ‘pastor,’ reverend, etc…. But as Jesus said over his shoulder to the Pharisees, “Surely they have their reward” (Mt. 6:5 ESV).

As Lifestyle worshipers, we need not live for the job title; nor do we need to be held back by “it”. I have personally seen that janitors have a larger ‘pastoral’ role in some church settings than the pastor himself. So to all of us who feel expendable, take note of Nehemiah: Do not let your job title hold you back from fulfilling what the Lord has laid on your heart. He had the humility and the courage to act on the burden for his people. The Lord gave him favor with the king and with the people, and I’m sure that whatever situation we may find ourselves in, when the Lord prompts us to do something, He will not only empower us, He will also grant us favor with both those over us and those we will lead.

I pray this same confident blessing to you as you start this New Year with a renewed hope!

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

— John 15:15-17 (NIV)

   And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.”

— Luke 1::46-48 (NIV)

  For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

— 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (ESV)

Heavenly Father,  may I be faithful with the ‘job title’ You have placed on me. By the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, may I accomplish what You have designed me to do.  In His Name, Amen.