Reviving the Stones series
LIFE IN THE MIDST OF RUBBLE
"How to Become a Catalyst for Revival”
Another Word for Catalyst is to be a means, a channel, or a vehicle
Opening Scripture: Nehemiah 1: 1-3
A man one day went to see his doctor to follow up on a test he took two days ago. WHen he walked in and saw the doctor, the doctor saw the man and told him to pleas sit down. Doctor told the man, " Well sir, I have some ban news and some really bad news to tell you, so which one do you want to hear first? The man looked at the doctor and could not believe what he heard he said " you are telling me you have bad news and really bad news for me? Doctor replied,"yes"! So which one do you want to hear 1st? The man said,"well doc i guess tell me the bad news 1st". Doctor told the man, Well the bad news is you have 24 hrs to live. Man looked at the Doctor and said "That is the bad news?" What is the REALLY BAD NEWS? Doctor looked at the man and said well the REALLY BAD NEWS IS.... " I forgot to tell you yesturday".
Talk about some bad news right?
Well, let me ask you this…
Do you have the courage to face the truth?
Sometimes, we don’t like what we hear or see.
We don’t want it to be true.
We may even try to ignore it, but it doesn’t make it go away.
This is something that happened to Nehemiah.
He had to face the truth and the question is, what was he going to do about it?
Today we are faced with the same thing. We see so many things happening in our communities and are families, Walls have been torn down, and even in the church there is death, and all we are left are the Rubbles of destruction. And what are we going to do about it. Because as I see it, all though things may look bad: I am going to tell you this: “There is Life in the midst of Ruble”, and today we are being faced with the same question Nehemiah was faced with: Who will “REVIVE THE STONES?”
I read one time this quote that caught my attention:
“Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it”
The HISTORY of the people of Israel was given to us SO THAT we could learn the lessons and avoid repeating their mistakes.
Now something interesting is happening to Nehemiah. Nehemiah receives some bad news from his brother about his people : the Jews. About Jerusalem and the walls.
1.) Nehemiah has genuine concern for his people- (verses 1 and 2)
2.) His understanding of the importance of Walls, to his people in their worship.
Question: Do I have a genuine concern for what people around me are going through?
2.) Nehemiah hears a report that breaks his heart- (Verse 3 and first half of 4)
Important to read:
America has become a nation whose walls are broken down...and for the most part, we didn’t have an enemy come in and take them down by force— WE dismantled the walls so that we could be “free”. The freedom to do WHAT “I” want to do WHEN “I” want to do it has destroyed the walls of MARRIAGE and FAMILY and SELF-CONTROL and ABSTAINANCE and everyone is in DANGER because there are no walls anymore.
ALL AROUND US are individuals...marriages...and families that are in DANGER because the walls are down and they don’t even understand why.
Question: Can I still be ‘broken’ by the pain of life?
-When I hear of a hurting marriage
-An abused child
-A lonely widow
Dr. Tony Campolo said: “We are caught up in a particular point in our national life in which we are not only terribly materialistic, but worse than that, we’re becoming emotionally dead as a people. We don’t sing, we don’t dance, we don’t even sin with much enthusiasm. There is deadness everywhere. High schools are apathetic. Colleges are apathetic. Worst of all– churches are apathetic. If WE are no longer alive– what hope is there for the world?”
So check this out. Jerusalem’s Walls are down. What is a Wall, what does a Wall represent. It represents, Protection, Obedience, Balance, Blessings, and Boundaries, because outside of those walls is the enemy.
Now what has happened is that we have seen the walls, and we think that we are being held back from something much greater for us. Thinking if we get over the wall, or tear down the wall, if I compromise my life nothing will happen with me I will be ok. (This kind of reminds me of the story of Adam and EVE)
But the walls hear are destroyed. There is Ruble. People are in distress.
The ruble means death, in the spiritual. Here in scripture in natural and now spiritually speaking. There is death. Church walls have been broken. Spiritually speaking. What causes Death? Sin, Bible says that the wages of sin is death. Sin causes death. And many of us in our lives have have taken a little bit of sin hear and a little bit of sin there, and those walls have been torn down. Now we look and it is messed up. We are now vulnerable for the enemy to attack us. And the rubble is this: Marital Issues, Leadership Issues, Lust, Adultery, compromise. Lies , self-control issues, No communication. Disobediences, No unity. And now we see a division. Now the enemy can come and attack whenever he wants too.
Billy Graham: "We’re suffering from only one disease in the world. Our basic problem is not a race problem. Our basic problem is not a poverty problem. Our basic problem is not a war problem. Our basic problem is a heart problem. We need to get the heart changed, the heart transformed."
And now Nehemiah is found here looking, hearing this news, and now we are hearing this news, what is going through our minds? What are we going to do about it?
This is what Nehemiah did. He became a Catalyst for Revival. Meaning he became a channel, or a vehicle of Revival.
What did he do?
Remembered God, - Praying to him V’s 4-11
Responsibility by repenting (verse - 7 ) confession of truth
A man once sent a check to the government for back taxes with a note attached that said:
“I felt so guilty for cheating on my taxes I had to send you this check. If I don’t feel any better, I’ll send you the rest.”
Reviewed the Land, to see what was wrong: chapter 2:12-16
Sometimes we do things in a rush without looking at the situation first. At times it is good to review the situation we are in and allow God to truly speak to your life.
Responded, to the issues Chapter 2:11 -Nehemiah responded, people responded, enemy chap 4
(has there ever been a time that you believe you believe God had called you to do something, and then someone says, “Wow, that is awesome” I will help too. I was struggling to do it but I was scared”, “thanks for doing it?, can I help”? Because you responded other’s will responded, other’s will respond too.
Revived the Stones. The walls were built, Chapter 3-5.
Nothing just stays dead! If you go and move, God can use you. It takes someone to step up and be used by God. Someone, to listen to the voice of God by looking at their surrounding’s, are you where God wants you to be. Nehemiah knew that he needed to go back and help rebuild the walls. God can bring the miracle but 1st someone needs to act in faith and stand.
God can Revive anyone especially, as we review and respond to his word.
Illustration: A certain particular man would always go to a certain park to preach the Gospel and evangelize. One day a homeless man walked up to the preacher and asked him if he could have his bible. The preacher looked at the homeless man and said, as long as you put it to use! The homeless man said, “oh I will. Those pages look mighty good to me! You see, they are thin enough for me to smoke a joint now and then. Please preacher let me have it”. Preacher looked at the man with a puzzled look and replied. “Well, sir, I promise to give you this bible, and I will do it under one circumstance. You would have to promise me that before you rip a page to smoke it, you would have to read it first. The homeless man said, hey that is easy of course I can promise you that before I do smoke it I will definitely read it.
So the preacher gave him the Bible. 2 years later, the preacher came back to the same park and was preaching there still, when a man a clean cut and suited down walked up to preacher and shouted “Hey preacher remember me?” Preacher didn’t recognize the man and said “No”. The man looked at the preacher and said well about 2 years ago, I walked up to you at this same corner and asked you for your bible”. Preacher looked at the man and said “yes I remember, you were the homeless man. Wow, what happened to you? You look so different and so clean. The man looked at the preacher and said, “well, preacher I took you your advice. Before smoking the joint I read the scriptures. I 1st read Mathew, then a smoked it, I then read Mark, and smoked it too, Luke was good and I really smoked Luke, but when I got to John, it smoked Me!
God’s word is powerful, but it takes a “catalyst” to get it to those areas were there are burnt walls so that they can stand up once again.
A Sunday School teacher was teaching a group of teenage boys one Sunday about Christ’s disciples; about their abilities, their attributes, and why Jesus might have chosen them. Toward the end of the lesson a teen-aged boy who was particularly enthralled about the whole concept of calling, chosen by God, said, "Teacher, why did Jesus choose Judas?" To which the Sunday school teacher replied, "Son, I don’t know. But I have a harder question. Why did Jesus choose me?"
Church I have something to say, although things may look dead in your life, maybe things may look dead in your personal life, things may look dead in your home, work, church, and community, I want to tell you, that I see, Life in the midst of Ruble, but the question that I have for the Church is this and it needs to be answered. Who will revive the Stones? Where does Revival start? Church, it starts right Here, right here, Revival starts when God calls and we answer that Call.
There is two callings here, A call to repent, and a call to be a catalyst for revival. Or better yet, in order to be a catalyst for revival, it starts with us taking on the responsibility, in order to REVIVE THE STONES.