Thoughts from Nehemiah 1-4

971024_1First of all, you’ve got to read these four chapters! They’re awesome. Even wade through chapter 3, which details the amazing cooperation and delegation the Nhehmiah ordered to repair the wall.

Nehemiah prayed all the time. In each significant circumstance, in each important decision, you see him praying.

He trusted and believed the Lord, yet he matched his faith with preparedness. In 4.23, he records that he never took off his clothes or his weapon during the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. His faith was substantiated by his preparedness, and I think, vice versa.

He was ready to fight and defend his convictions. He motivated the rest of the exiles and remnant likewise, inspiring them and pointing them to God.
“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight… (4.14)”

How can I lead with similar influence, faith, and courage?

These days at Journey are rather subdued. I’m quiet, yet eager – anxious about what our Lord, my Father is doing among us.

No growth numerically since this past spring, and no real “prospects” on the horizon. What is going on?

My first inclination is accusation. They’re not doing enough – not inviting people, not eager for people to be impacted by Jesus. I’m not doing enough, I think. I’m lazy, worthless, and uncommitted to what I teach…

Yet I cannot camp there, because the truth is that many, including myself, are doing a LOT. The truth is that such condemning and immobilizing thoughts are exactly what the enemy would like us to continue thinking.

Like Caro is so good to remind me, Journey is NOT like other churches. We are going about the kingdom in a counter-cultural way. Our people are doing exactly what we’ve been asking them to do. Quietly serving, earnestly loving and building relationships with each other and ministering to those within our individual contexts.

It’s easy to point a finger at others and ignore their unseen contributions to the kingdom. Because a person doesn’t serve God in the way we want them to, or the way we imagine we would if in Romans14_1their shoes, we all too often conclude that they’re simply not serving, loving, or doing anything to build Christ’s kingdom and bring glory to the Father. Yet that simply is an inadequate, and even satanic pane to view life through.

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A better perspective and attitude as a minister is to simply hold out the words of life to people, preach and teach faithfully, live obediently and passionately yourself, and trust your family in Christ. Trust Christ with them. Trust them with Christ. Trust them and Christ. You are not the spiritual police.

Like Nehemiah, we should be focused on the work at hand, in front of us. We should be prepared to fight the enemies outside the camp, but refuse to slow down the vital work. Sure, there were problems within. Nehemiah 3.5 records that the leaders of Tekoa refused to stoop to this work of the wall. Did they think themselves above it? But their people picked up their slack, and that was all that was said of it.

Let us focus also on the great work He’s called each of us to do. And let us be so busy about it, that we trust others to do their share. The Father will convict, if necessary, those who are not participating. Either that, or they will miss the blessing.

In the few circumstances that we must address or confront others, we should always do so in great love, with a view toward their restoration. I worry that sometimes we confront to isolate and be proved “right” rather than to restore and be one. Such leadership is not godly at all, but is fleshly, seeking its own platform and following rather than surrendering its place before Christ’s throne.

Let’s each be busy with the task God has given us. Let Him, the Master Builder deal with our enemies and those who may need more encouragement, unless He leads you to address them.

I posted this entry today in the “Ancient Words” Bible reading group hosted by Journey… Check out that reading group if you would like to join an ordered Bible reading plan that will take you through the Bible in a year AND get to interact with others while doing so.

On this day...

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