Summary: This sermon is designed to help the congregation identify needs and turn them into a vision to demonstrate God’s glory

The Vision Behind the Purpose

· As you all know we have been discussing plans for preparing our 2004 Budget.

· We want to thank-you for the cooperation that you have shown this far in this new process. Our prayer is that you continue to ask God for guidance as you give some good insight into the various programs you would like to see next year.

· This morning we want to continue our thought on the preparation of the 2004 Budget.

· The one thing that I see when I think about our current situation and what we are trying to accomplish is the fact that we have to have a vision.

· In Proverbs 29:18 the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: …”

Ø Let me explain the meaning of vision.

Ø “Vision” is the ability to see beyond the obvious.

Ø Story of the Little Boy and his baseball bat.

Ø Story of the Rabbi who went to heaven and hell.

Ø The point here is that you have to be able to see past the obvious if you are a person of vision.

Ø There are essentially three types of people when it comes to visionary people.

Ø There are those who can see the vision.

Ø There are those who can’t see the vision.

Ø Then, there are those who can see the vision but don’t want you to accomplish the vision.

Ø But the question is, “What type of person are you?” Do you look at the cup as half-empty of half-full? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Are you a person of vision or are you blinded by the prospects of the future?

· So, my question to you is, “What is you vision?”

· Where do you see us next year?

· What would you like to see us accomplish next year?

· What do you need to aide you in your spiritual growth?

· Don’t let anyone define your vision for you. And more importantly, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your vision!

· You have to dare to dream! You have to define you own vision!

· You all know that one of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of Nehemiah.

· I want you to know this morning that I can’t think of a better example of vision than that of Nehemiah.

Ø The children of Israel have been in Assyrian and Babylonian captivity for some 70 years.

Ø God has now seen fit to start allowing them to return home.

Ø Zerubabul led the first return of about 50,000 people

Ø Under his leadership the people began to rebuild the Temple and walls of Jerusalem, but stopped because the people around them were pressuring them.

Ø Ezra, who was prophet/priest in Israel, led the second return, which consisted of about 15,000 people.

Ø It was under his leadership that the restoration of the Temple of God was completed.

· All of this set the stage for Nehemiah.

· Nehemiah was informed that the people were in great distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken and burned with fire.

· Read Nehemiah 1:1-11

· That leads us to the first of two points.

I. There Was A Definite Need (v. 3)

A. When Nehemiah learned that the people of God were in distress and the walls of Jerusalem were crumbled and burned, he saw a need.

1. Nehemiah understood that the walls of Jerusalem were the first line of defense against enemies.

2. He understood that with the walls down, the people of Jerusalem were defenseless.

a. There was no watchman to guard the walls.

b. There were no watchtowers for the guards to stand.

c. There was no fortification of the walls.

3. To add to this confusion, there were individuals who didn’t want to see the walls go up. (4:1-3; 11-15; 17-20)

a. They wanted God’s people helpless.

b. They wanted God’s people defenseless.

c. They wanted God’s people without a vision.

B. Nehemiah understood that the walls must be rebuilt.

C. As we begin to organize ourselves and ask each individual member to share his or her vision, we must also see a need

1. Understand, we are not “organizing“ as a means of protecting a city.

2. Understand, we are not “organizing” to place watchtowers so guards can watch the city.

3. We are not “organizing” to protect the Temple of God from being looted.

4. We are “organizing” to demonstrate God’s glory.

D. You will find that when Nehemiah heard that the people of God were in need that he sat down, wept, mourned, and began to pray.

That brings us to our second of two points.

II. Some See The Vision, Some Don’t

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