Being A Neighbor

Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the King

A cup-bearer was an officer of high rank in royal courts whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold the position. He must guard against poison in the king’s cup and was sometimes required to swallow some of the drink before serving it.

Nehemiah 1:2-4

Nehemiah saw the need and was moved; but he also did something.

Nehemiah 2:5

When we follow God, people will try and discourage us; especially when it’s something new.

Nehemiah 2:19

Nehemiah 4:1

Nehemiah was doing more than just building a ministry, he was building a community.

Nehemiah 5:5

Your Future Is Not Behind You

The first part of Joseph’s life summed up:

He was hated, had dreams, got a little arrogant, was betrayed, was lied about and falsely imprisoned, but maintained his integrity, yet still forgotten and left behind.

You don’t go through all of that and return to normal!

Because of Joseph’s integrity and closely following God, he became 2nd in the kingdom. And impacted the world!

There is something better than normal!

No doubt, Joseph thought his dream would be fulfilled right where he was raised. But once he was sold into slavery he never saw his homeland again. He went back many years later, but as a corpse.

Your future is not behind you!

Joseph could have lost hope but he held onto the dream and the God of that dream!

Let’s talk about the role of prayer in forward movement. Had Joseph given up on his dream, not stay connected to God, etc, he would not have been ready for his opportunity. But because he was in touch with God, was still talking to God and hearing God, all Joseph had to do was shave and put on a new shirt.

No matter what struggles you have, what battles you’re fighting, what prison you feel like you’re in, be ready and don’t spend one more minute in that prison then you have to!

Forward to the Future

There are a lot of moms in the Bible to choose from. And while Ruth isn’t one you automatically think of, we’ll get there.

The story begins with Elimelech and Naomi – notice the book isn’t named after them.
Ruth 1:1-5

Naomi decides to return to hometown of Bethlehem (we know that town!)
Ruth 1:6-7

Orpah kissed Naomi and went home with Naomi’s blessing – Ruth 1:8-14
I’m not sure what but something in Orpah’s past looked better to her than her future.

But for Ruth even if she wanted to, there was no normal to go back to.

Your future is not behind you!

Ruth 1:15
Ruth 1:16

Ruth knew her future lay in being closer to Naomi’s God and His people!



What was that future?

With Boaz she found true love, provision (she married rich!), and a home! Ruth 2-4 is the greatest “love at first sight” romance in the Bible!

Through Obed she became a mom! She was once a childless widow but now a blessed mom! Ruth 4:13-17

Her grandson David was a might warrior, the champion of Israel, a spiritual warrior in worship, too! God called David “a man after My own heart.” Acts 13:22

Her descendants Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah were the kings of Israel! Her family became royalty! Matthew 1:5-7

31 generations later, her family tree includes The Son of God, The Lord of Lords, The King of Kings. The Savior was in her future! Matthew 1:15-16

What do you need? What do you want out of life? What do you desire more than life itself?


The lesson from Ruth is regardless of your past, make sure Jesus is in your future!

Breaking the Pattern

We don’t like the times like these, because it’s a break in our PATTERN and it calls our pattern into question.


Mark 10:17-22

HE WANTED AN ENCOUNTER – To say he’d met Jesus.

HE WANTED AFFIRMATION – That his normal was good enough.

HE DIDN’T WANT CHANGE 


If we aren’t careful, we’ll end up there too—seeking our time with Jesus, just to make us feel better about ourselves, with no desire to make a real change, and no concern for the way we could be used to serve others.


How can we find a better pattern for ourselves?

Romans 12:2

3 Questions.

  1. How can you create pauses to call your pattern into question?
  2. How can you give more generously?
  3. How can you live more generously?

Matthew 11: 28-29

Back to Normal? Daniel

Seven weeks and counting!

Daniel 1:3-4, 6

Daniel really had it going for him! But now, according to verse 3, Daniel had a new normal.

Serving King Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel interpreted dreams that the king had! Daniel 2:1-45, 4:4-33
Causing the King to praise God – Daniel 2:46-47, 4:34-37
and promote Daniel! Daniel 2:48-49

Then King Belshazzar
Daniel’s place as 3rd in the kingdom didn’t appear to last long, but he is brought before Belshazzar in Daniel 5:13-14
Daniel interprets a message from God, written on the wall during an out-of-control feast – Daniel 5:25-28
Causing the king to promote Daniel to 3rd in his kingdom as well! Daniel 5:29

Then Daniel serves King Darius
Daniel does so well he is about to be promoted to 2nd in Darius’ kingdom! Daniel 6:1-3
But, the lions’ den! Daniel 6:4-24
And God’s deliverance causes King Darius to worship God and decree that the whole kingdom worship God! Daniel 6:25-27

And Daniel continues to have success in leadership!

Let’s take a lesson from Daniel, maybe several!
His normal kept changing, but no matter what happened Daniel kept having success! How?

Daniel maintained his integrity, Daniel 1:8

He remembered his friends, Daniel 2:49

He was a man of prayer, Daniel 6:10 – awesome didn’t happen outside God’s divine direction

He never took credit for what God had done, was always careful to give God credit, Daniel 2:27-28, 5:17-18, 6:22 – and in doing so Daniel led kings to worship God!!!

And Daniel spoke whatever God gave him to say!

Back to Normal?

Today everyone just wants to get back to normal. Really?

I don’t want to go back. I’m looking forward, forward to better than normal, forward to more than normal!


Simon Peter had a decent normal, fishing for a living.
Mark 1:16-18

Jesus gave him a new normal! Doing “church” for a living.
Mark 1:21-42
Luke 9:1-2

Then Simon Peter had a rough 24 hours:

And now? He decides to go fishing, all the way back to his old, comfortable normal. John 21:3


So what did Jesus do about it? John 21:15-17

  • Jesus gave him his new normal! The most awesome normal Simon Peter ever had!
  • It isn’t over! It may just be beginning!
  • Whatever you’re dealing with, this could be the open door to the most awesome normal you have ever had!

But Simon Peter had to be willing to embrace his most awesome, best-ever normal and not return to his comfortable normal!

Easter Sunday

Holy Week, the days just before Easter, were a very confusing time.
Consider it from the disciples’ perspective. Jesus announces His impending death, He is betrayed, arrested, tried, rejected, condemned, beaten, killed, buried and alive again – all in a matter of one week.

But from our perspective we know it’s good news! They should have been encouraged.

The disciples’ situation wasn’t much different than yours this week: self-isolation, normal was long gone, government leaders making decisions and rulings that didn’t always make sense, more questions than answers.

So let me also tell you to be encouraged! Rejoice! Maybe we’re like the disciples and we just can’t see it yet.

And after the cross, life would never be the same. And that’s an awesome thing! For us, too! Once we meet Jesus at the cross of forgiveness life is never the same!!

Matthew 26:27-29
Jesus gives them a future hope that begins with forgiveness.
But more than just our guilt, it’s about our shame and our life of sin!


John 19:26-27
Purpose! John is the only disciple actually at the cross when Jesus died. So he is the only one in a position to receive new purpose.

We all have plenty to live for, right? Toys and joys!

But at the cross, Jesus had found something worth dying for

Life is most worth living when you have something worth dying for!


We get our life from His death!

We receive forgiveness for the guilt of our sin,
deliverance from the shame of our sin,
saving from the life of sin,
and true purpose, something worth dying for!

Romans 10:9-10


Please let us know if you need anything!
Text 205-476-2911 with your prayer requests, if you need anything or if you just need someone to talk to!

 

Worship, Repeat

Today is Palm Sunday and Vision Sunday, a great time to refocus!

On the first Palm Sunday the crowds, and even Jesus’ own disciples, didn’t really understand the plan.

John 12:12-18

John 19:15

They were merely worshiping their vision for who Jesus should be!

 


 

Today we are talking about bringing worship back to our communities!

►►LEARN Worship – John 4:24

worship   to express or show reverence and adoration to God

1. Words spoken, written, sung, etc
2. Gestures like lifting hands or clapping hands, bowing, dancing, etc
3. Obedience, which is perhaps the highest form of worship
4. Actions that display who He is, like serving, showing love, etc

 

►►PRACTICE Worship

  • Worship can be your war song, a psychological weapon sending a message to the enemy!
  • Learn your solo!

 

►►REPEAT your story, what you have seen and heard!

Call attention to God’s work in a situation, His faithfulness, care, presence, peace, blessings, etc.

Matthew 11:4-5


The series wrap-up:
Fill your world with prayer!
Fill your world with promise!
Fill your world with praise!

Read, Repeat

LEARN

You gotta have something before you can give it away!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Your mind is a huge battlefield so even when you don’t feel like your soul is getting much out of it keep feeding your mind!!

There are thousands of promises in the Bible. Let’s just talk about three great ones:

Matthew 28:20

Mark 9:23

John 14:3


PRACTICE

Matthew 24:35

If the Bible is the Word of God, it trumps our experiences!

Three examples of how to practice God’s Word in your life:

Psalm 119:11
The Word of God is what Jesus used against temptation. Matthew 4:3-10

1 Peter 2:24

Philippians 4:19


REPEAT – How we repeat this in our communities:

  • On social media
  • When someone has a problem, need or struggle, respond with a promise from God’s Word
  • When you have the floor – it should be impossible for us as Christians to speak publicly without mentioning God
  • Explain salvation – Roman 10:9-10

My closing challenge to you:
Go to social media and post a scripture promise.
Or call someone right now that you kow needs a scripture promise.