Sunday, September 6, 2015

Finding Your Passion

Our Grand Opening will be next Sunday. Join us.
Today is Communion Sunday. Pastor Brad welcomed us with the exclamation, "This is the day the Lord has made..." Brad said that he was initiating a new series this time on Nehemiah and the first message in this series was a strong one.

Chuck shared that his involvement with the Salvation Army has resulted in becoming aware of the need for shoes, especially men's shoes. Next week there will be a barrel in the back for those who want to bring a pair to donate.
Paula made a request for cookies for next week's Grand Opening during Rally Sunday.
Next week will include games, bouncy houses, and more. The service will be at 10:15 a.m.

The quartet sang a medley of Gaither-era favorites as a lead-in to worship followed by As the Deer and then we all together sang several more hymns.

After the offering was taken we shared a time of prayer and praise.

Finding Your Passion

Brad began by asking how many of us had a problem. He then said he believed that our lives can be defined by our biggest problem. What are you devoting yourself to try to solve in this world? Wealth? Fame? Security?

Jesus's disciples asked him, "What problem in your world would you call us to address?"

It's the heart of what is God's will in their lives. What is it that genuinely moves your heart?

This is what I see in Nehemiah. Brad had Leonard read Nehemiah 1:1-4.

Nehemiah, at the beginning of this story, was living in Susa of Persia, a superpower to which Israelites had been dispersed. But he is returning to Jerusalem and when he sees the walls of Jerusalem it breaks his heart. The broken walls show Israel's disgrace and vulnerability.

Allowing the grief to run deep into his bones he pours his heart out to God. (Nehemiah 1:5-11)

Nehemiah's prayer begins acknowledging the greatness of God, the God of heaven who is simultaneously here with us in this place. The prayer moves from the acknowledging of his brokenheartedness to the need to take action. "I have to do something about that wall."

Prayer is about "what God and I can do together." It's not just about telling God our problems.

Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem in the month of Kislev, but it's four months before he takes action. Nehemiah was cup bearer to the king, which included serving the king wine. His role also included being happy to serve the king. And for four months his heart was broken yet he did not show it until one day (chapter 2) he reveals what is in his heart.

Nehemiah asks for permission to go to Jerusalem to repair the wall. This is a risky request, but he is concerned more for the need than for himself. In addition he asks for safe conduct, a military escort. And furthermore, he requests timber and other materials. His vision for a renovated Jerusalem is bigger than his fear, though he is very much afraid.

These are not just stories. Nehemiah is walking with God, immersed in Scripture, and given the boldness he needed despite his fears.

In the end, Brad returned to his initial question: what is your problem? What breaks your heart? Because the walls of this world are broken. We hear it every day. The need is immense. Abortion, human trafficking, poverty, disease, human devastation.

Is the only reason I'm on this earth just to keep myself on this earth? To be more comfortable?

What's your problem? Do what Nehemiah did. Let the pain go deep. And then ask God what you can do to make a difference. 

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