Sustaining the Vision

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 6:15-16

It’s not that difficult to have a great idea. And lots of people can get started in pursuing a vision with good intentions. But staying the course until the end is difficult and often makes the difference in whether the vision is accomplished or not.

In today’s passage from Nehemiah, we see that the vision for rebuilding the Jerusalem walls was completed. How did they pull this off? We’ve already read about all of the opposition. How did they survive all of the road blocks along the way? How did they sustain the vision amidst challenges?

Today we took a look at two essential practices that will lead to sustained success.

1. Visionary Leaders Sustain the Vision by Celebrating Victories Along the Way.

Nehemiah was quick to give credit to God for the success of their amazing accomplishment:

“When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.” (Nehemiah 6:16)

It is good for us to take intentional moments to thank God for what he has accomplished in our lives.

2. Visionary Leaders Sustain the Vision by Focusing More on People than Projects.

In reading Nehemiah 1:9, we are reminded the true goal of Nehemiah’s vision:

“But if you return to me… I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have my name dwell.” (Nehemiah 1:9)

The Vision was never to build a wall, the vision was to restore the people. We see the importance of focusing on people more than projects.

As we seek to share the good news of Jesus with our neighbors and acquaintances, it’s important to focus on people and relationships more than simply sharing facts and information. The opportunity to share truth is won when we prove that we prioritize our relationship with them.

Discussion:

  • What is one victory in your life you want to pause and publicly thank God for?
  • Who is one person who doesn’t know God that He may be leading you to build a relationship with?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to show that person you care about your relationship?

Pray for Revival

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 8

Revival — We often think of revival as a programmed event or a stirring of emotions. An event or our emotions is not what creates revival. Revival starts when hearts that were cold or hardened to God are made new and come alive.

Elements of revival include…

Unified Prayer | The people of God must come together and pray as one. When praying together our prayer must be grounded in the Word of God. Prayer is revival.

Confession | Confession is agreeing with God about our sin. Does what grieves His heart grieve  our heart? Does what God views as sin the same as what we view as sin? Confession really is a celebration of the mercy of God. When we do confess we are confessing to a God who deeply loves us.

Surrender | We must learn how to surrender to the Lord.

Discussion:

• When you think of the word revival, what comes to your mind?
• How often do you pray with other people?
• What do you typically pray for and what drives your prayer time?
• When was the last time you confessed sin to someone? What keeps you from confessing your sin?
• Does knowing that God deeply loves you change your perspective on confessing your sin?
• What would it look like for you to spend time as a family, asking God to bring about revival in your life?

Overcoming Opposition

Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 2:17-19

3 Tips for a winning strategy to overcome opposition

Tip #1: Expect Opposition
Satan’s work is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10b). Remember that opposition can come from within and without.

• What opposition are you currently facing?

Tip #2: Engage in Prayer
Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer. We are engaged in a spiritual battle so remember to use the right weapons — prayer, dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God’s Word.

• What are you specifically praying for in regard to overcoming opposition?

Tip #3: Endure in Your Role
Don’t give up; don’t give in (Nehemiah 4:21-22). Expect God to show up (Colossians 1:29; Nehemiah 4:14). Remember that we fight from victory, but we still have to fight.

• What steps are you taking in order to overcome opposition and complete your task?

Nehemiah and the people persevered and completed the good work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:15-16).

Praying God’s Promises

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 1:4-11

This morning, we learned about using prayer correctly. Prayer is a wonderful, simple, mysterious, critical aspect in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We talk with God and He talks with us. Pastor Rush said, “It’s a conversation with our Heavenly Father. Prayer is a HUGE deal. Prayer IS THE WORK of the ministry. Nothing of eternal value happens without prayer.”

As we learned, Nehemiah knew the power of prayer. He knew that effective prayer begins with the Promises of God. This is one of the most powerful and effective prayers we have. To take the very words of God and pray them back in faith and say – “God, you said this. I am trusting you to fulfill what you promised you would do.” We are getting ourselves in line with what God has already said. (Consider Jesus’ words in John 14:13-14). Briefly, here are FIVE steps we can follow to experience the joy of praying God’s promises:

  1. Look for passages on that subject. You can utilize the concordance in the back of many Bible’s, ‘God’s Promises’ books, websites like blueletterbible.org or ask a friend, pastor or community group leader.
  2. Look for promises in those passages. Remember there are promises God made to all, promises he made specifically to others, but demonstrate His character and promises that are implied by His commands.
  3. Start memorizing and meditating on those passages. To Nehemiah, God said it was to be, so it’s as good as done – even with the mess he heard reported! When you pray from a position of confidence, you pray expectantly!
  4. Allow God to personalize the promises. It’s very important not to abuse this step! It’s a sequence: you trust in what you CAN know clearly from God’s Word, and then God begins to reveal to you other things that are completely in line with the Word of God – but are just for you.(Remember the difference between logosand rhema)
  5. Participate in the Prayer. This is where prayer and living out your faith connect. Nehemiah was confident in the Lord and went before the King and God answers his pray! But this was after fasting and praying for months!

One of the last things Pastor Rush said this morning was, “Our vision to reach 10 thousand homes will not happen without prayer, our mission to invite all people to experience true fulfillment in Jesus will not happen without prayer, our heart to see parents rise up as the primary faith trainers of the next generation will not happen without prayer. Our passion to see every home living out the 4 habits of REST, BLESS, GATHER, and GO will not happen without prayer. Revival will not break out across our city and nation without prayer.”

What else in your life will not happen without prayer?

Discussion Questions:

  • What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
  • Which of the five practical steps from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
  • Why is it easy to abuse “praying God’s promises” back to Him?
  • What do we need to be careful about?What area(s) of your life are you seeking God for?
  • How can knowing God’s Word help you to pray more specifically and confidently for those?
  • What is one small step you can take today to put into practice what you heard?

Unfinished Business: How God Prepares Us for Vision

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 1:1-4 and 2 Chronicles 36:15-23

Before diving into the book of Nehemiah, it’s important to understand the context behind the story. 2 Chronicles helps us understand that. During this time, King Cyrus of Persia released the exiles because God put it on his heart, which would have been unheard of at this time. The people were going back to rebuild the temple. 100 years go by, and that’s when we get to Nehemiah. Nehemiah leads the charge because God wants his wall rebuilt. Nehemiah shows us the path to addressing unfinished business.

Three prerequisites to clear vision in our life:

1.​ Assess the problem. | Verse 4, “When I heard these words..”.Nehemiah cared about what God cared about and he wanted to know the truth. Do we investigate the needs around us and look beyond what is just convenient?

2. ​Acknowledge the discontent. |  Verse 4, “I sat down and wept..”.Nehemiah was emotionally invested in what takes place in his homeland. When God puts a burden on your heart, don’t ignore that burden, but instead let it trouble you. We all need a Popeye moment where vision starts to culminate: holy discontent. Devote your life to that which you cannot get over.

3. ​Answer the call. | Verse 4 Nehemiah was, “praying and fasting..”. Nehemiah raised his hand and answered the call to do what God called him to do and we should do the same. He did not just get emotional and then forget about it- he stepped up and led. This decision Nehemiah made leads to a transformation that lasts for generation.

Discuss around your table today (or any place you gather):

  1. Do you have unfinished business in your life? If so, what may it be and how can you address it?
  2. Has God placed a burden on your heart that maybe you have been ignoring? What is it that you cannot stand?  After this morning, what are next steps for you in this?
  3. Have you surrendered this over to the Lord and allowed him to use you in this? How are you going to answer the call?