Tag Archives: Nehemiah

Chief Reasons Everybody Works

C.R.E.W. ~ Chief Reasons Everybody Works!

From the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

The book of Nehemiah is such a great book for the child of God that desires to make a difference in the Kingdom, as every child of God should. It’s a prime example of someone living in a fallen world and fighting back to take care of his own. That was Nehemiah.

He was the king’s cupbearer. A man trusted and fearless enough to make sure no one was going to poison the king. He, for certain, was somebody, and yet he was under the authority of a world ruler. Not a spiritual leader. But his burden and passion for his people is what got him into a position that they, nor the world could deny him opportunity to rebuild what had been broken down.

That’s how I look at our community. It’s falling apart. Our city is unkempt, our communities are filled with broken homes and broken lives, our churches have breaches that should not be, and all the while, God’s people stand by watching it happen, and in need of leaders that will rise up and start the rebuilding.

We’re God’s crew. And using that acronym we’ll discover “Chief Reasons Everyone Works.”

That’s how we’ll have success in the little kingdom we call home in the hills of West Virginia.

In the journal art for today’s blog I pulled words from the entire chapter of Nehemiah 3. It’s one of those chapters that can cause you to zone out if you’re not careful. It’s filled with names, roles, titles and jobs. We can read scripture like that and miss the little things that are the big things. Like beginning in verse of chapter 3 it says that “Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and they builded the sheep gate.”

It’s Our Church

And they were church leaders, willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where needed. And their place was the sheep gate. That’s the role of our church leaders too; they’re responsible for the sheep. Under Nehemiah’s leadership he rallied the troops to begin to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and a portion of that wall was where the sheep were lead through the sheep gate and into the temple.

What was once a sacrificial offering is now how God reference’s His children. Church leadership is not only responsible for leading the sheep into the church, but once they’re in, they’re responsible for making sure they’re safe.

How do we do that? How do we insure that our people are sheltered from harm?

STUDY THE WORD

  1. 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

SHARE THE WORD

  • Romans 15:1-5 ~ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

As members of the body of Christ, it’s our job to help grow the church. While it’s a different day than in the days of Nehemiah, membership is still by the blood. (The blood of Jesus) And while they were the tribes of Israel, we are the congregation of God.

Just as they had gone astray from the way they should have been living, which is what created the position they’d found themselves in, with not only a broken city, but a broken relationship with God; we too can identify with that analogy. From the age of accountability, when we understood right from wrong, we had a broken relationship with God. Church leadership, and us, need to be repairing the gate where the sheep come into the fold. We need to make the door of the church beautiful. And we do that by allowing them to see the beauty of God, right from the beginning.

It’s Our Community

Hassenaah sons were in charge of the fish gate. Then there were other’s under them. It doesn’t say they were fishermen. Just men, willing to work.

Jesus told Peter (who was a fisherman) in Matthew 4:19 ~ And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

_____________________  

It’s important that we understand the references and parables that Christ shares with us in His words. Fishing was an important part of the communities along the sea. It was their livelihood. Well, it’s the livelihood of the church too! If we’re not out fishing and building our church, it will eventually fade away.

What fish do you have on the hook to build your church? Write them down, commit them to prayer and think on them as serious as Hassenaah and his friends took the building of the fish gate.

It’s Our Children

The work crews on the wall were every bit as diverse as the crews in our church. Everyone, regardless of their life roles, had an important role in the church.

Nehemiah 3:12 ~ And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.

Commentary says of the “daughters” that they were possibly rich widows or heiresses who employed men to build at their own expense.  Halohesh must not have  had sons. This would have been the culture of the day, and while we have certain roles in the church as men, women and children, the point is, we all have a role and a responsibility to set the example for others. Especially the young. Children need to have a voice and role in the church so that as they grow in the Lord and become adults, they continue on serving. If they’re never allowed to serve when they’re young, how will they know that they can as they age?

What are jobs can they do:

Toddlers?_________________________________

Elementary?_______________________________

Pre-Teen?________________________________

Teen?____________________________________

College?__________________________________

Everyone who desires to serve needs a job. When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, he was but a child, yet he served. Again, we know the culture was different, but the message is still the same. We need to point children into the direction of service as young as possible.

What’s your earliest remembrance of service?

Psalm 127:3

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

It’s Our Responsibility

What if Nehemiah had stayed with the King? What if the community had stayed at home? What if nobody did anything? Well it’s unfortunate that many churches are facing that dilemma today. We have to accept the responsibility we’ve been given, and everyone has been given something to do.

What is your part of the wall?

  • The sheep gate?
  • The Fish gate?
  • Cleaning Crew?
  • Guarding the wall?
  • Providing materials?
  • Entertaining the troops?

So many more! We have to show up! It’s our responsibility!

3 Things You Need Approved

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:18

Get God’s Hand of Approval

Nehemiah encouraged and excited God’s people when he informed them that the hand of God was upon him. He only knew that because he’d been in prayer from the beginning. When Nehemiah heard the condition of the wall and the people of Jerusalem his heart was broken. He took the news to the only One who could change the forecast which was the Lord, Jehovah. Our provider.

Bad news comes in many forms today. It may be a wall that’s falling down, but usually it’s a life that’s falling apart. For the church it’s a world that’s falling apart around us. I don’t know how you feel, but I feel much like Nehemiah. I’m distressed at the condition of the souls I meet.

As Gloria and I traveled down a street in Virginia Beach last week, we happed upon a little lady crouched on the curb. Gloria felt compelled to stop and help her out and tell her about Jesus. We approached her, and it was apparent she was skeptical as to why. I ask her if she knew Jesus. She said she was a part of a certain denomination. For me that’s a bell ringer that she knows church. Not Jesus. We attempted to speak to her about the condition of her soul but she wanted no part of it. We just happened to be beside a Chick-fil-A, and I just happened to have a Chick-fil-A gift card in my wallet. (Nothing really just happens). So we gave her the card and wished her God speed.

I don’t think we fixed any walls, but I don’t know. Perhaps the act of kindness will restore her faith in humanity. Or not. Only God knows. What it did was cause me to be more aware of the curb side people in my community.  We need to take care of our own.

That’s what I hear God saying to me this morning. And I need to do that through my ministry (The Jesus Chick) which is my responsibility. But I also need to do that work through my own church. The local church for which every believer needs to be a part of. To do that I need to

Get Church Leadership’s Word of Approval

When Nehemiah prayed for God’s wisdom on what to do about the decaying state of their city and community, He received God’s words of wisdom. But Nehemiah was a servant, the cup bearer, of King Artaxerxes. So rather than just taking God’s word and running with it, he prayed again and sought the Kings approval for the journey.

I’m a doer. Sometimes to a fault. I’ve on more than one occasion ran ahead of church leadership on projects because I wanted to get it done. And it seldom ended well. There’s an order in life. And I have learned to stand my ground in my place, and allow others that same privilege and respect. Its how the church works best, and the world needs to see the church working in harmony. The only way that can happen is if we respect authority. Nehemiah did it even though it wasn’t the church it was a worldly authority, surely we can allow God’s people to guide.

It’s through that process that we can

Get the Stamp of Approval

“A job worth doing, is worth doing right” is often said, and it’s certainly truth.

Philippians 1:6 ~ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The Jews rose up for a good work because of Nehemiah’s leadership. We need that today! We need the congregations of God to rise up and do a good work that we can be proud of for the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to start by rebuilding the walls in our communities. And by walls I mean spiritually building a fortress around the people through prayer and communication. We need to take back our schools from out of the hands of influences of evil. It’s there. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. We need to be on the streets and roads of our community speaking to those we see about Jesus. We may not have a Chick-Fil-A near by but I can almost guarantee we have some casserole dishes in our cupboard that we can fill with some homemade goodness for someone.

It’s a start. We need it. I need it. You need it. Let’s do it.

Four Reasons to Stay on the Wall

In the book of Nehemiah, a mighty religious leader of the day received word of the remnant of the Jewish people that are left in Jerusalem. Their wall of protection is destroyed, the gates have been burned and Nehemiah sits down, weeps, fasts, prays, and then then begins his conversation with God.

Before we take our stand atop our wall there is a few preparatory measures we need to take. First talk to God, make sure it’s your wall to stand on and fight. I cannot tell you of the times I have climbed to the top of a wall that was built on someone else’s ideas instead of God’s. Second, take accountability for the brokenness if it’s yours. And third remember, you are one of the Redeemed! That in a nutshell is Nehemiah Chapter One regarding the state of Israel and Nehemiah’s prayer to God. If it’s your wall, don’t come down.

God is the God of Action. Unless it’s for a time of prayer or preaching, nowhere in scripture do you find God’s people sitting still and being productive. If they’re sitting still (like King David) they’re apt to fall into sin. Busyness isn’t always a sign of productiveness, but it’s certainly a better sign than never being found doing anything.

I cannot summarize the story of Nehemiah and the wall into a few sentences. So much happened and the entire book is so worthy to read. But for bit of encouragement for the both of us I’ll use this scripture from the book to encourage you to stay on the wall.

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Israel had just heard the word of God afresh. They were mourning for the state of their nation. But Nehemiah gives them (and us) these words of encouragement.

We have a Reason to Celebrate

If God’s people can’t rejoice, who can? The wall was rebuilt in spite of the opposition they faced. And for those of us on this side of the New Testament, we are blessed with the Word of God that has stood the test of time and has proven itself as truth no matter how many times an angry world has tried to tear it down. We can eat the fat and drink the sweet of His glorious word and feel the Spirit in our soul as we do. The world may not know… but we do. That is reason to celebrate! Stay on the Wall and Celebrate what God completed at the empty tomb.

We have blessings to share

Nehemiah reminded them that their blessings were not their own to keep. Neither are ours. I looked around my home this morning at all the goodness of God and His graciousness to me who is so unworthy and I feel shame that I don’t share more than I do. I feel shame that I don’t take the time to thank God and stay in constant prayer that His mercy abounds in my family and friends. You too no doubt have blessings uncounted and gifts in your life that you could encourage someone with today. Stay on the wall and share God’s goodness that world may see what He’s done in your life, and that even the unsaved will glorify God for you.

We serve The Lord Most High

I loved when Nehemiah said “Don’t be sorry.” I believe he was telling the Israelites to move past regret. I am so apt to stay in an attitude of unworthiness because of my failures. I do it to the point of yet another failure; because God has proven I am worthy by His death on the cross. Was not that enough? We serve a risen Savior who took every sin; past, present and future upon His shoulders at the cross so that we could live in victory! We serve the Lord Most High, there is no reason to be low. Stay on the wall and serve in the victory you’re afforded and don’t cower to the demons of Hell that tell you you’re not worthy. You are worthy by His blood.

We have His Strength to Go On

That strength is found in His joy and His joy is found in our service. There is engrained in the child of God a desire to serve. When that desire is fulfilled it brings with it a joy unspeakable and that joy floods the body and soul with strength to go on. Yes, we’ll have some days of doubt, we’re human. But we can look back on the joys of serving God and the fruits of our labor, just like Nehemiah and children of Israel must have looked back on the rebuilt wall. Look what you’ve done in the strength of the Lord! Can He not do more? And will you not continue to stand and fight for those who have yet to make it to where you are in Christ?

I have family and friends who have never experienced life atop the wall. They’ve never known the victory of Spirit filled leaving and confidence in Christ. I’m not done until God says I’m done. Stay on the wall and continue in His strength that others may experience it too.

The wall of Jerusalem was nothing more than bricks and mortar. The Rock for which we stand is indestructible. Stand Strong in His Might!

5 Ways to Grow God’s Kingdom

CHICK COFFEE

1 – Pray Genuinely

Nehemiah 1:6

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

If we’ll all be honest, none of us have lived as close to the cross as we should have. Nehemiah takes this petition to the Lord in all sincerity that he and his fellow church folk are about to take some drastic steps to get right with God in order to get the Nation of Israel back under the protection of God’s mighty hand. I believe that if the remnant of the church in America followed Nehemiah’s suit, we too would be back under God’s hand.

2 – Pray Reverently

Nehemiah 1:11

O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Nehemiah desired to fear God’s name. I believe that the church is no longer afraid of God. We’ve forgotten His power, and in so doing we no longer prosper. I can only speak for myself but I know that if I truly feared God as I should I’d serve Him better. I do not speak of fear in the sense of hiding under the bed, rather I speak of the reverence of His awesome power. He spoke the world into existence, His breath is life (and death). At His command our enemies can only go so far and yet we take the least amount of time possible to commune with Him in the course of a day. We  do not fear Him. We fear His wrath when things go wrong, but when things are right we just “assume” He’s got us and move on.

3 – Prepare for Action

Nehemiah 2:5

And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

The problem with reading or writing a blog such as this is once its written there’s an unseen “The End” as we complete the reading. We’ll say “Ain’t that the truth!” and then we’ll pour ourselves a cup of coffee, and go about our day unchanged. When Nehemiah got a burden to see his city restored, he prayed about it, and then come what may, he sat into action the plan to make it happen! By even going into the presence of the king with a sad countenance he risked death, but that didn’t deter him from following through. What risk are you and I willing to take to rebuild our church? And will we follow through?

4 – Prepare for Adversity

Nehemiah 2:19-20

But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?  Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Stepping out in faith will get you laughed at and despised; either because they’re against what you believe or they don’t have the gumption to step out and do it themselves. And the bigger the task you have before you the bigger the enemy.

5 – Put Your Differences Aside

I won’t list a scripture reference for this point because it would take the entire third chapter. It’s the “And next unto him’s” that got my attention. Israel came together, different tribes, different families and began rebuilding the wall. My greatest frustration right now with the Church of God, and that’s the Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc. say they serve the same God, but you’d never know by the way we serve. Christ did not die for Baptist alone… and yet there are some Baptist that secretly believe that, and every other denomination. In these end times that we most likely all agree we’re in, when the world is running out of time before Jesus returns, we should be laboring to get souls into Heaven, not pointing out what another church is doing differently (therefore in error) to a non-believer. How on earth will they get saved?

Tell them about Jesus. Build the wall around your community and get as many people into the Kingdom of Heaven as you can. If they go to another church, give God the glory that you’ll see them in Heaven when we all belong to one church.

This is why the church is not prospering, we’re too busy disagreeing.

One wall was built around Jerusalem. Lots of gates, lots of different jobs to do, but only one wall. We have only means of protection for our friends and family and that’s Jesus Christ. Preach Jesus… get your people behind the wall and let’s serve together until Glory!

Put your coffee in a thermos to go, we have some work to do!