PDF of Study Guide available HERE
True Christianity is about building something. It takes work, but it can’t be accomplished by human effort alone. It takes sacrifice, but how can any sacrifice compare to Jesus’ sacrifice? The purpose of everything we do is to build people.
The Backstory of Nehemiah. The nation of Israel, particularly the Tribe of Judah, was in captivity. The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others stated that the captivity would last for seventy years. Nehemiah learned from a friend about the fall of Jerusalem. The Temple was built but that’s pretty much it. Jerusalem and the wall around it was a mess. It broke his heart. He put his whole life in chaos to do something about it. Nehemiah stepped up in Faith. Today, we enter the story as he arrives in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 2:13-16 (NLT) After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. 14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate. 16 The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing…
A Guy On A Walk (13-16)
Someone has to See Something. Someone has to take that unflinching look at reality. Someone has to see that the walls have fallen, the gates are burned, and the people are only barely surviving, while their faith in God lies in tatters. So, Nehemiah took the time to see. He had looked upon the ruins. Now what?
Someone has to Do Something. Nehemiah prayed. It is not enough to do something. It is not enough to work hard. Human effort is killing the church in the west. People are dreaming up great things for God, without getting great things from God. Leadership requires prayer in the church, both from and for the leaders.
Someone has to Pray. It was from a place of prayer that Nehemiah planned. He planned his discussion with the king. He planned his trip. He planned his approach to the leaders in Jerusalem. He planned his strategy for the task. He planned his completion and follow-through.
And, his plan was executed from a place of prayer. He rallied the people. They worked day and night. They worked ready to build and ready to fight. And they repaired the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days. So fast that their enemies were humiliated and in fear at the obvious hand of God upon them.
Nehemiah 2:17 (NLT) But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!”
Situation Serious (17)
Millennials and Generation Z have become increasingly unchurched. The structure of the family has faltered. Social media has created what has been called the “loneliest” generation. And, the deterioration of morality and decency have caused great harm. It seems as though we cannot guarantee our children’s basic safety anymore. Can a kid be a kid anymore, or must they immediately become short adults? Because of this social and spiritual destabilization, mental illness, depression, and suicide are on a steep rise.
The World Needs More Cowboys. Wyoming has its challenges too. We have moral and political headwinds that are quickly growing beyond reason. But, the plight of churches in Wyoming is most dire. If we don’t figure out how to grow and support Faith leaders right here, the light of the gospel will continue to erode until it is no more. We send our young leaders off to seminary or bible schools and they don’t return. Denominational structures come and drain resources needed here while not investing in the future of faith here. But…
A Joshua Generation. There is a generation being born again. In the Bible, we learn of a generation that walked out of Egypt as children and into Canaan as warriors. We learn of another generation that walked into Babylon as children and into Israel as builders. There was still another generation that walked around with Jesus as older teens or young adults and traveled the known world with the best news ever. The Greatest Generations of History were not born into greatness, they were forged. Our own Greatest Generation was forged in childhood by the fires of poverty and flames of war.
God is raising up a generation of Faith. They will believe what Jesus said and do what He commanded. They will turn this world on its head.
1 Peter 2:5a (NLT) And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple…
Let’s Build Our Faith (18)
Let’s Become Disciples. Let’s kick Christianity as a product line to the curb. We could learn to love, read, and enjoy the BIBLE. The Bible makes great Disciples. Let’s Follow Jesus. Let’s get serious about serving others. Let’s get serious about giving and going to end human trafficking, mitigate suffering, and proclaim the Great News! You see, it’s about people. It’s always about the people that God loves! And, building faith is about building people.
2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT) You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Let’s Make Disciples. What can you do? Invite someone along. That’s how the first disciples did it. It’s simple, really. If you are going to pray, serve, learn, or do anything, invite someone along.
Ephesians 4:11 (NLT) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Let’s Empower Leaders. There is power. The word of God and the Spirit of God are the most powerful things I know. Their power is realized when their words are obeyed. But, it’s always like stepping out of a perfectly sound boat onto a raging sea. It always takes risk. To empower leaders, we have to encourage risk. We must give leaders the freedom to fail. Because with risk comes failure, and with failure comes growth.
So, let’s get to the privilege of building mighty people.