I have been listening to an absolutely spectacular podcast by Mark Driscoll. It is a series on Nehemiah. While I may not fully understand or agree with everything he has said, this series has blown my mind and pumped me up about the vision God is giving us for the Memphis metro area.
I am planning on teaching through Nehemiah beginning in January. My family read through Nehemiah a couple of months ago together every evening. I have been thinking a lot about this book and decided to throw out some thoughts I have been pondering as a result.
- We need to pray a lot – Nehemiah certainly did!
- We need to journal – That is basically what the book of Nehemiah is, his personal journal.
- Have a plan and lead it into completion– This doesn’t mean that everything will turn out as we expect, but we need to have a direction. I like what Neil Cole says, “Keep a bifocal vision: start at the beginning, but with the end in mind.”
- Prepare for critics and deal with them accordingly– I have experienced this to an isolated degree over the last year and half. I have certainly not handled some of these situations with grace and love.
- Stay focused on what’s important – Nehemiah faced all kinds of ridiculous distractions, and so do we!
- Be patient and endure the junk – I am blown away with how patient Nehemiah seems to be with the junk. Of course, we weren’t there, but God’s Word indicates he handled up on situations.
- Be repentant – Nehemiah never confesses group or national sin without confessing his own sin. I love this! We must exhale in confession!
- Clarify the win – Nehemiah knew the goal and so did everyone else working with him. They knew where they were going, so they got there. This is one of the seven principles found in Andy Stanley’s “7 Practices of Effective Ministry”. Kudos to my friend Bill Berry for this book!
- Evaluate progress – You can’t know if you are getting there if you don’t pay attention to how you’re getting there.
- Stay biblical – Nehemiah took several chances to share the Word of God with the people in order to keep the focus clear. Biblical authority must define everything we seek to do and be. The Bible is not a footnote note it is the lead storyline.
- Confront sin– My kids loved when Nehemiah pulled out the hair and beat up the men who had married outside of God’s instructions, but this is very serious. Sin was serious enough for Jesus to die. We shouldn’t take our sin or the sins of others lightly. It must be confessed and dealt with regularly.
- Organize leadership – Now, I can certainly say I have come to dislike institutionalism very much. However, no organization or organism can exist, live, grow, and reproduce without good organization. Nehemiah understood this, so he spread the load, and organized the work.
- Scripture is sufficient for suffering – Nehemiah looked to Scripture for hope in God. God was his source of encouragement. Romans 15:4 is applicable here, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (NLT)”
I am sure I will ultimately find more stuff, but this is a great start. I love the book!!
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