Summary: Second sermon in a series through the book of Nehemiah exploring the pursuit of God’s vision for our lives. Sermon addresses the need to pray, plan, and position yourself for the fulfillment of God’s vision in your life.
Have you ever felt like you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time? Hopefully not in the next few minutes, but four teenagers were arrested in the parking lot of a large mall in Lakeland, Florida, just before Christmas when, attempting to steal an automobile at random, they tried to break into an unmarked police van containing three officers on a stakeout. That’s being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Or how about Rory Johnson, age 29, who was arrested in May for a liquor store robbery in Elkhart, Indiana. Johnson had parked in the back of the store to facilitate his getaway but had trouble exiting because of congestion due to road construction. Five minutes after the robbery, he was sitting in his car, having moved only a few feet, and liquor store employees pointed him out to police. The wrong place, at the wrong time. And of course, doing the wrong thing.
Or there is the sad story of Darnell Madison, 37, who was shot and killed in July in Homewood, Alabama. Apparently he burst into a motel room intending to rob the seven men whom he had seen enter it with a large wad of money. He was unaware they were armed undercover police officers working on another case.
One more, Deputy Sheriff Ryan Maye told the Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, that he first heard the rustle of a plastic baggie coming from the next stall at about 10:45 a.m. Easter Standard Time on Tuesday. Then Maye heard the sound of a lighter being struck. Within seconds, the smell of roasting marijuana filled the men’s room of the magnificent neo-classical Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
"I banged on the door and ordered him to come out," Maye told the paper. From the stall emerged a sheepish Nickolai, age 32, who was due for an 11 a.m. hearing on a recent arrest of theft and drug charges. Nickolai was tucking a pipe back into his pocket, according to Maye. Maye and another deputy patted Nickolai down and found, in addition to marijuana, two containers with 49 Xanax pills inside.
Since all parties involved were already in the courthouse, the arraignment didn’t take long, and Nickolai was sent to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility down the street pending $1,000 bail. He was given a hearing the following Thursday on the new charges. There was no indication whether he planned to smoke pot before that hearing as well.
Pretty extreme cases of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But I wonder if feeling like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time might not describe how Nehemiah felt when he received the report we explored last Sunday. Is the jump from a courthouse, pot smoking felon to Nehemiah to big for one sentence?
Last week we launched our walk through the book of Nehemiah, and we talked about how we start to go about the business of getting refocused in on the vision that God has for our lives.
We talked about the fact that often that vision will come to us at a time of desperation. A time of discontent, heartache, and burden. A time when we look at an area of our life as an individual: maybe our marriage, a relationship, a job situation, a temptation, and we say. . .”God, I know this shouldn’t be like this. Help me to make it different.” Or in the life of a church we look at the lost around us and say, “God, we have to do something to make a difference in this area.” Those times of desperation and discontent are often the times of vision birthing.