Summary: The message deals with accomplishing God’s purpose in our lives. First in the series.
Building Blocks for the New Year - Vision
Pastor Don Jones
It has gone by so fast. I don’t know where the time went. I can’t believe it’s already here. You have probably either said, or heard, all of these statements this past week. If you haven’t I’m sure you will hear them or say them this next week.
All of the statements are very true, time does go by fast and I do believe that it goes by faster with age. So, it is all the more reason to set goals for this year not only for you but more importantly for our church. We are celebrating our 5oth anniversary as a church, and frankly, I believe we need a vision for the next 50 years.
Definition of Vision
What is a "vision"? I like what Pastor Tony Miano says. He explains vision this way. "As I look ahead, far ahead, two to three years down the road, I do see God doing it, even though I may not know all of the details today. That’s what vision is. Vision is not a crystal ball or hearing audible voices. It is the belief in one’s heart that God is going to do something that is consistent with His Word and consistent with His will, and believing that what God is going to do will have an amazing impact on your life. Having vision is having the confident belief that the promises of God are going to be realized in the future of our church."
The book of Nehemiah gives us a close look at how God shared His vision to accomplish His great task.
Who was Nehemiah? He was not a priest nor was he a king. Nehemiah identifies himself in verse 11 as "a cupbearer for the king." Nehemiah is encouraging because he is just a "regular" guy. God used an ordinary person to accomplish an extraordinary task.
I am especially encouraged because most of the people God calls are "regular" people. Some have been tax-collectors, shepherds, fishermen, and even murderers. Ordinary people empowered and encouraged by God to lead His ordinary people to extraordinary accomplishments. Why, because when all is said and done and the mission is accomplished, everyone knows it had to be the Lord.
As I look around this room I see a group of diverse yet ordinary people. As we look at scripture remember who you are and who God is. Ultimately remember you are a regular person but "with God all things are possible".
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.”
The people of Judah were in exile. They did not repent when God called to them. God’s judgment had come upon them in a swift manner. The judgment brought on a terrible consequence, the wall of Jerusalem had been destroyed. It was an ever present reminder of their sin, defeat and disgrace.
Stop, Drop, and ...
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
When Nehemiah heard the news about the wall, he was burdened. His first response was to sit down. His second response was to grieve. He gave a human response to news of great sadness. To put it another way, he broke down and cried.
For some reason people believe that if you are a strong believer you can’t stop and break down. You have to carry on or it will be a sign of a lack of faith.
Wrong! The Lord created us with feelings. We are not some Christian robot when we come to know the Lord. When you receive bad news, break down and cry. It’s what Jesus did. The shortest verse in the Bible says, "Jesus wept".
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 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."
We are to grieve but we don’t stay there forever. Notice that the first thing Nehemiah did after he wept was go to the Lord for the answer. He did not seek his own solution but God’s. Why, because he knew his role in life. He knew God’s power could accomplish much greater goals than his own. Nehemiah knew that all anything worth while begins with a solid foundation and vision from the Lord.
When my son was 3 years old he was sitting in his room. We could hear his frustrated voice coming from his room. The vocal frustration grew and grew until finally his mom went to see what the problem was.