Summary: 2 of 4 messages on Nehemiah. We are in a building campaign and we want to make sure that we are building wisely.
February 25, 2007
Nehemiah – Cupbearer to the King
Begin with the Goal in Mind
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
To begin with the goal in mind you must understand what the goal is! Sounds simple – but people often make this first critical mistake. They don’t recognize the goal.
You say, “huh”! That’s easy! The goal is building a church building. I say, “No, that is not the goal. The goal is building a church.
The building is simply one of the many tools that help us to accomplish the mission our Lord gave all of his followers just before he ascended into heaven.
We find this mission in his last words, “Go therefore and make disciples…”
The goal is not a building – the goal is a growing and dynamic church filled with God’s people. The goal is building up the family of God and a place we can use to help us accomplish this objective is part of our strategic initiative to do the mission.
To create this tool we must count the costs, plan the tactics, and work to make it happen.
Jesus also said that we must count the cost…
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
To create this tool for dynamic ministry it will take a mixture of faith, determination, common sense and sight.
There is a very real tension between faith and sight when a church sets out to accomplish the vision for ministry which God has given into its hands.
We are to live by faith but we also need to have some common sense mixed in – but how much of each? How much faith and how much sight?
Two parts faith and one part commonsense? Or maybe three parts sight and one part faith? Or maybe the recipe is a tablespoon of determination, a cup of common sense, and a dash of faith. What does it take to accomplish a great task that is goes beyond that ability and sight of a people?
Nehemiah took on such a task when he built a wall around the city of Jerusalem. It was a formidable task and many said that it simply could not be done – and yet he built the wall in 52 day – 52 years, not 52 months – 52 days – an almost impossible task.
Nehemiah built smart - in the eyes of men and in the sight of God.
As we are now engaging in a vast project we would be wise to learn from his tactics and to emulate them.
Let me look with you at the second chapter of Nehemiah as we examine how he built those walls and how we are going to build ours!
Rally the People
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.”
Nehemiah saw that the real issue was not the walls. He had plenty of resources available to him. There were rocks all over the ground. What he needed was people – motivated, excited, willing, challenged, committed and hardworking people.
One of the difficulties that Nehemiah faced was dealing with a people who had grown used to living a life which was full of trouble and slathered with a thick layer of disgrace. They were willing to settle for less than what God wanted them to have.
Listen, we may not be living in trouble and we have nothing to be ashamed of here… but I do not believe that we are now enjoying the best of what God wants for us – not for a minute.
We have been gathering the resources. $530,000 was committed in November of last year. Since then over $120,000 dollars have been given. And let me simply say this… I am encouraged and impressed. Many are giving up little luxuries like coffees, cable tv, and personal extras so they can give. Some are selling stuff on ebay while others are working extra so they can give offerings. I thank all of you.