Summary: From time to time we all need to move outside our comfort zones if we are going to be effective in ministry

Living Outside My Comfort Zone

Nehemiah 11:1-36

Rodeo Road Baptist Church

November 9, 2014

Disclaimer: Each sermon in this series on Nehemiah was written with both commentary help and referencing from time to time information from sermons and illustration found on Sermon Central. In most cases I tried to be faithful in giving credit to the author but I acknowledge that I was not consistent in that endeavor. So any similarity to other older posted sermons on this web site are due in part to the quality of their work and the timelessness of the truth they shared originally. There was no intentional intent to use without credit any material in these sermons that were first delivered by other pastors.


Video: A Servants Heart

In Nehemiah chapter 11 there is a list of names that are unknown to us due to the distance of time. Yet they, in their day, left their personal comfort zones to help finish a task that had started with fixing a broken wall. They volunteered for a difficult task… ESV says they “willingly offered…” Let’s take a look to see what lessons we may learn from these volunteers.

I. What are the circumstances that you or I are challenged to move outside our comfort zones?

Nehemiah 7:4 The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

Nehemiah 11:1 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem.

In the commentary of Jamison, Faussett & Brown they state, “That Jerusalem being the capital of the country, it was right and proper that the seat of government should be there. But the need of the times required that special measures should be taken to insure the residence of an adequate population for the safekeeping of the buildings and the defense of the city. From the irritations of excited and spiteful enemies, who tried every means to bulldoze the rising fortifications, there was some danger joining a settlement in Jerusalem. Hence the greater part of the returned exiles, in order to earn a living as well as secure the compensations of their undertaking, preferred to remain in the country or the local towns.”

• The city was under populated

o Housing was still inadequate

o Safety was still some concern

o Income was questionable as well

Excellent Congregations by Paul Wilkes identified the following 10 common traits among the "excellent" protestant congregations.

1. A vibrancy about living a Christian on the creative and holy edge of the New Testament...being a Christian is not a leisure activity but an adventure.

2. Entrepreneurial...risk-takers, self-starters, use what works and put aside that which does not.

3. Draws philosophically, rather than geographically or denominationally, by the spirit of a living and present God.

4. Reach beyond their comfort zone...not afraid of being uncomfortable and ask tough questions of themselves.

5. Regularly evaluate themselves...for effectiveness.

6. Have a clear, yet changing, sense of mission...a vision of where they want to be and willingness to redirect energies to be effective in their community and people’s lives.

7. Willingness to break up and reassemble...put aside old structures and coalitions when necessary to move forward.

8. Unafraid of being vulnerable and making mistakes.

9. Laity are integral in leadership...competence and a desire to serve, the ability to learn, the humility to admit mistakes and the courage to continue despite setbacks are more important prerequisites for leadership than formal training and ordination.

10. Preach and practice forgiveness and acceptance.

II. Would I be reluctant to relocate or would I volunteer?

Nehemiah 11:1, 2 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.

Melvin Newland commented, “Now, notice vs. 2: It says, "The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem." That word "volunteer" is a very interesting word. In Hebrew it means "to incite, to impel from within, a tremendous urge from within to do something."

So here we have two groups of people: #1 - the group whose names are chosen by lot, who are drafted, & who are going to do their duty & move into the city.

#2 the group who said, "I don't have to move into the city, but I am going to do it anyway. I volunteer to do it!"

Nobody told them that they had to do it, but because they loved Jerusalem - because they loved God - they were willing to sacrifice their homes & all their comforts & move into the city. They were willing to clean away the rubble - callous their hands - build a house - & rebuild once again the holy city of God.

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