Summary: Used the call to courage in Haggai as a framework for calling believers to take courage rooted in Christ against the world’s intimidation and discouragement.
Used a short "bully" video clip from Bridge to Terebithia to raise issue of intimidation we sometimes feel. Sometimes physical, financial, etc. Sometimes spiritual.
Ever been intimidated in expressing your belief? Acting on it? If you have, you’ve got something in common with some people God spoke to through a prophet about 2500 years ago.
Background - told a little bit about Haggai’s background, how the people had begun to rebuild the temple 15 years earlier, had given ito intimidation and never got back to what they knew needed to be done even years after a ban against the work was lifted...)
We want to find courage. Here’s how:
PERFORM - (1) AUGUST (Haggai comes to them tree times, the first is in what would be for us the month of August)
23 days of amazing action…
They would find their courage back by acting, now.
Procrastination reveals fear.
The time has not come - right, but when?
"Do not fear" gives away the problem. Intimidation.
Dis-courage-ment. Websters: to deprive of courage..
Have you experienced that?
It looks like pure self-interest to us, but certainly not when they’d begun! They had, however, been discouraged and intimidated.
Discouragement turns inward; courage turns outward.
Not the impatience of rash action; rather, the resolve to meet the need of the hour and move forward. Don’t leave it for someone else to do eventually.
What were they doing, leaving it to their kids?
How might we do that? (Our culture is falling apart and the difference we do not make, the next generation will need to.
Do your way into courage!...
PATIENCE - (2.1-9) OCTOBER
This was not all to come!
Courage is patient!
Our motivation is always tied to the future.
For the present it is enough for the people to “be strong ... be strong ... be strong ... and work” (2:4). The other key to overcoming discouragement is for the builders to know that they are building for the day when God will so fill this house with glory that it will surpass the glory of Solomon’s temple (2:9).
Be strong (x3)!
Courage is not built in a flash. And courage must look beyond today. Imagine revolutionaries embarking a long war for independence, deliberately planning and plodding.
We have an amazing and unique capacity for courage! They cannot take our life away! They cannot take away our sense of acceptance and belonging! Can’t diminish our purpose! Think about it, we are loved unconditionally by the creator of the universe! Be strong!
Like Daniel’s friends saying, "but even if he doesn’t"!
Courage is not found in the flash of a crisis, but is rather a long road.
Echoes the more nagging, chronic discouragement of those who saw the progress and questioned the result.
Have you ever been let down by results?
It’s not about here and now.
We need to understand that.
Also, putting things in eternal perspective helps us to remain non-anxious and stand firm (un-defensive) now.
PONDER (2.10,f.) DECEMBER
Think about the impact of your behavior…
Concern about effects of personal choice on nation.
Pay attention to prayer and blessing!
Bad rubs off more easily than good, (like dirty and clean literally do) so be careful! (Note here its not evil ’filth’ but negativism!)
Discouragement is contagious!
Courage is communicable. So work at that!
Be ’big God’ people!
How easy it is for us to say, "it doesn’t look good" - but what does that accomplish? What of prayer!?
This is what got these people into the mess they were in! It’s what infected the 10 spies of Joshua’s time, and it is faithless!
So he says, THINK and take courage!
Have you battled discouragement?
Could it be that Haggai has a message for you today?
Whether performing or patience or pondering your impact on others…
Maybe you’ve been intimidated and need to remember how great God is. To take courage.
And/or: How could you be a courage-giver an en-courager (in the biblical sense), to someone else?