In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the King. The cupbearer was burdened and his heart broke for the state of Jerusalem. He prayed to God with passion, night and day. He prayed for favor with the king. He went to talk to the king after he had been praying for four months. The king asked Nehemiah what was wrong. Nehemiah prayed and then he answered. The king then let him go. Nehemiah’s prayer for favor was answered. He went to Judah and the first thing he did was assess the need. He inspected the wall first and in spite of everything, he never doubted God. Nehemiah went out to inspect the wall at night and then he went to the people and told them the truth; the city lies in ruin. God is in this, let’s rebuild the wall.
Nehemiah was a great leader. He decided to have each family build the section of the wall that was right in front of their own home. What a great way to ensure that each section would be built right. Last week Pastor Jay focused on passion and growth. Having passion for something isn’t enough, we also need growth. We need to be different at the end of 2015 than we were at the beginning. One of the greatest ways we can grow here at Shoreland is through a missional community group. Give one a try and you’ll be amazed at what God does. A missional community is a group where its members grow in community while working on a mission together. If we’re truly going to have the year God wants for us then we need mission.
We need God’s direction because passion without a God-given direction could be frivolous or downright dangerous. All of the things that happened on 9/11 were done by people with a lot of passion, but they didn’t have a God-given direction. We are missing the mark when we aren’t doing what God wants us to do or being who God wants us to be. Mission is what drove Nehemiah to rebuild the wall. It helped him move through all of the obstacles. It was his commitment to the mission that helped him finish when it got to be too hard. Nehemiah 2:18 says, “They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” Then the very next verse, Nehemiah 2:19 brings rebellion. When you are doing God’s work you will be tested.
Our commitment to the mission is what carries us. It’s about doing what God calls us to do regardless of the obstacles and the naysayers. In Nehemiah 2:20, Nehemiah responds by telling them that the God of heaven will give us success. When you’re called by God and you get a voice in your head mocking you, you need to say what Nehemiah said in 2:20. Then when God calls us to a mission and we answer that call there will be impact.
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Our mission is to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. How awesome if we faithfully follow His call as a church this year. God has already done things through us that this community has never seen done before. If we live this year with His mission in mind then this will be a year of impact, it will be unbelievable. If we want there to be impact we have to be faithful in the little things. We will all make a difference if we do what God calls us to do.
Let’s be committed to inviting the unchurched to Shoreland. We need to be faithful. God could use us to do miracles in other people’s lives. If each of us brought one person to Shoreland this year so much more would happen. Lives would change. As we begin laying bricks, being committed to God’s calling in our lives, more bricks will be laid. A Gospel presence will be in this community. God uses faithful obedience to make a huge impact. Passion, Growth, Mission, Impact, what is God calling you to do?