Summary: Our introduction on your outline is: ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GO! and this applies not just to racing but to life. The more we are prepared for what we have to face in life, the better we’ll be able to run the race that God wants us to run.
PREPARING FOR SUCCESS
Nehemiah Chapter 2
INTRO: ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GO!
Runners are you ready? (Runners shake arms and legs to loosen them up).
On your mark! (One runner gets down in position. The other, who was standing behind gets distracted by a better view of the crowd and remains standing, waving and smiling at someone in the crowd.)
Get set! (One runner gets set. The other continues smiling, mouthing words, and blowing kisses to someone in the crowd).
GO! (One runner sprints across the stage. The other take off after him but obviously behind.)
Our introduction on your outline is: ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GO! And this applies not just to racing but to life. The more we are prepared for what we have to face in life, the better we’ll be able to run the race that God wants us to run.
ON YOUR MARK means that we should be aware of our goals. GET SET means that we should be prepared. Then we can GO on to success. Our message today in on PREPARING FOR SUCCESS? and as we deal with the first part of Nehemiah chapter two I want us to look at five ways we can do that.
Our first point encourages us to -
BE PREPARED BY THINKING AHEAD.
1. BE PREPARED BY THINKING AHEAD
In this chapter it is obvious that Nehemiah has done his homework. He has not only been praying for four months, he has been planning and preparing for this meeting with the king.
Some of you may be thinking, "Is it really that important to be prepared? I like to live life one moment at a time. I like life to be spontaneous and fun, not broken down into little pieces on a day timer!"
In answer to that, let me assure you that whether we prepare or not, we have no choice but to take life one moment at a time, because we never know if things will happen like we’ve planned them.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Another verse says: Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
We must also remember that God plans ahead.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
1 Cor. 14:33, 40 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
And the Bible says that wise people plan ahead.
Proverbs 14:8 [Living] The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts.
Leadership Law: Failing to plan is planning to fail! You’ve got to think it through.
Leaders make time for think time. Howard Hendricks said, "Nothing is more profitable than serious thinking, and nothing is more demanding." Leaders need time to think, time to get away.
If you take time to think ahead, then you’ll do a much better job at what our next point talks about:
2. BE PREPARED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES.
Let’s look at the first two verses of Nehemiah 2:
Neh. 2:1-2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before;  so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart."
Here is opportune time that God has opened for Nehemiah. One-on-one conversations with the king were rare. Nehemiah might not get another chance like this for months.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -- Thomas A. Edison.
We must be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that God brings to us.
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
ON YOUR MARK: Goal of telling others about Jesus.
GET SET: Set apart Christ as Lord. Be prepared to obey.
GO: Give an answer to those interested.
Nehemiah was on his mark. We saw in chapter one that he was aware of God’s promises to bring his people back to Israel and restore their lives.
He made a request that was in line with the will of God. So many times we ask with the wrong motives.
James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.