Sermons

Summary: Part three of a message based in Nehemiah on problem solving among God’s people.

Introduction: Weather Balloons

Read/Pray

Background: Not walls – spiritual condition, Recognizing (1), Reacting

Proposition Statement: In order to counteract a problem we must...

I. Be Prepared for service (vs. 11-3)

A. God is no respector of persons

1. He was a butler

2. He was the man of God’s choosing

B. Develop patience

1. Four months of seeking God’s face (Nisan)

2. There’s a time to act and a time to be still

a. Know how to determine the difference

b. He’d rather holler illustration

C. Face your fears

1. The moment of truth had arrived

2. Beware of imaging how it will play out

a. Lug Wrench Illustration

II. Be Connected (v. 4)

A. Why this day?

1. Most likely not a gloom and doomer

2. Sad cupbearer bad (v.1)

B. Make prayer a habit

1. Striking characteristic of Nehemiah was his prayer life

2. Beautiful illustration of praying without ceasing (1Thes5:17)

C. Being connected gives you the faith to push on

1. Fear prevention (LAPTOP Illustration)

2. This was a prayer for faith

III. Be Bold (v. 5-8)

A. If you’re on God’s side...

1. Look at just how bold Nehemiah’s request was

2. He KNEW God was for him

B. He knew he’d served Art well

1. He couldn’t have stood here with shabby character

a. Rats in the Cellar illustration

2. Art wouldn’t have honored his request save for God and Nehe character

C. He was prepared (v. 6)

1. Those months of planning paid off

a. Churchill Illustration

2. The King honored his plans

IV. Be Sure (v. 8)

A. Know that you are doing God’s will

1. Look for the Hand of God

B. God will bless you

1. God chooses to use us to achieve His purposes

2. He still moves stones

Conclusion: Thomas Edison illustration

Weather Balloons

Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.

Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky -- smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.

Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:

“Where you scared?”

“Yes.”

“Would you do it again?”

“No.”

“Why did you do it?”

“Because,” he said, “you can’t just sit there.”

(1) What’s the Problem

For more than 20 years Professor Edwin R. Keedy of the of Pennsylvania Law School used to start his first class by putting two figures on the blackboard 4 2.Then would ask, “What’s the solution?”

One student would call out, “Six.” Another would say “Two.” Then several would shout out “Eight!” But the teacher would shake his head in the negative. Then Keedy would point out their collective error. “All of you failed to ask the key question: What is the problem? Gentlemen, unless you know what the problem is, you cannot possibly find the answer.”

This teacher knew that in law as in everyday life, too much time is spent trying to solve the wrong problem—like polishing brass on a sinking ship.

He’d Rather Holler

There’s an Ozark story about a hound sitting in a country store and howling as hounds do. In comes a stranger who says to the storekeeper, “What’s the matter with the dog?” “He’s sitting on a cocklebur.” “Why doesn’t he get off?” “He’d rather holler.”

The Lug Wrench

When you fear that the worst will happen, your own thoughts may help to bring it about. “Fear,” a writer once said, “Is the wrong use of imagination. It is anticipating the worst, not the best that can happen.”

A salesman, driving on a lonely country road one dark and rainy night had a flat. He opened the trunk—no lug wrench. The light from a farmhouse could be seen dimly up the road. He set out on foot through the driving rain. Surely the farmer would have a lug wrench he could borrow, he thought. Of course, it was late at night—the farmer would be asleep in his warm, dry bed. Maybe he wouldn’t answer the door. And even if he did, he’d be angry at being awakened in the middle of the night. The salesman, picking his way blindly in the dark, stumbled on. By now his shoes and clothing were soaked. Even if the farmer did answer his knock, he would probably shout something like, “What’s the big idea waking me up at this hour!”

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