Summary: Nehemiah had a heart that cared, knees that bent, a mind that prepared and feet that went. This week we will talk about a heart that cared.
Can I Trust You With This?
PPT 1 Series Slide
PPT 2 Text: Nehemiah 1
Ne 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, [in] the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,
Ne 1:2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped [and] had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
Ne 1:3 And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
Ne 1:4 Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
For the next couple of weeks we are going to look at Nehemiah and we are going to describe him this way:
He was a man who: Had a heart that cared, knees that bent, a mind that prepared, and feet that went. That is a pretty good summary of a pattern of behavior that will lead to God’s blessing and success.
It combines a perfect blending of the spiritual and practical. The spiritual: caring and praying, the practical: planning and doing.
Praying w/o caring usually doesn’t happen and if it does, it doesn’t last long. We pray about the things we care about. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Caring w/o praying leaves God out of the equation and that is not a good thing to do if you want His blessing.
In the same way doing w/o planning usually results in less that stellar results, whereas caring and praying and planning and doing is probably a sign that God’s favor is already on it.
Originally I was going to title this message: A Man With a Mandate
I was going to make it a "rah rah" type of message to stir us up about being champions for God. Much in the same way as this little ditty:
I am part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I’ve stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His, I won’t look back, let up. slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals!
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now seek His presence, lean by faith, love by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my walk is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up till I’ve preached up, prayed up, fasted up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, speak till all know, and work till He stops.
And when He comes to get His own. He will have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear.
That is the type of message I was going to preach, but as I considered the text I realized that I would be giving an out of balance message. In the same way that caring is wedded to prayer, and planning is wedded to doing, the man with the mandate has to be wedded with the God who is behind the whole thing. This story has the fingerprints of God all over it, it would be wrong to make out like Nehemiah was some superhuman Christian and that is how this all came about. The book of Nehemiah is not the story of the heroism of a man, but how a butler working in concert with God can affect the destiny of a nation.
So today this message is not entitled, "A Man With A Mandate," but I am entitling it, "Can I Trust You With Something."
PPT 3 Heart in hands.
In that picture on the screen you see a heart in someones hands, I want you to imagine that the hands are God’s, the heart represents something He wants done, and they are extended to symbolize that He is asking you "If He can give this burden to You?"