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Nehemiah God’s ( וה Plan for Renewal God’s )יה Plan for Renewal Prayer ה Compassion ו Sacrifice ה Leadership י Purity Chapter 5 & 6: Courage & Compassion, Opposition & Objection
When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it's easy to forget you came to drain the swamp. " Ever start out to accomplish a goal and in the process you get overwhelmed and distracted and forget the reason behind the mission? Let’s view it another way… Any one have any experience with beavers? What do you think of when I say “beaver”? How would you describe the activity of a beaver?
Don’t forget the people! Let’s consider another “critter”…the Golden Retriever Any one here have a golden retriever or know someone who has one? Describe their personality? Would you consier them a loving and loyal dog? When they aren’t licking, wagging their tail and playing catch, what are they doing?
What were the walls around Jerusalem for? Nehemiah wanted to do what when he returned to Jerusalem? Why? What was the purpose of the walls? Who was Nehemiah serving? Why does God care about walls?
Building With a Heart for God & His People Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Habitat has helped build or repair more than 800, 000 houses and served more than 4 million people around the world. Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. Founded in 1942 by farmer & biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited Koinonia in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing. " The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.
Habitat for Humanity Mission Principles Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. We undertake our work to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus, acting in all ways in accord with the belief that God’s love and grace abound for all, and that we must be “hands and feet” of that love and grace in our world. We believe that, through faith, the miniscule can be multiplied to accomplish the magnificent, and that, in faith, respectful relationships can grow among all people. Focus on shelter. We have chosen, as our means of manifesting God’s love, to create opportunities for all people to live in decent, durable shelter. We put faith into action by helping to build, renovate or preserve homes, and by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty. Advocate for affordable housing. In response to the prophet Micah’s call to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God, we promote decent, affordable housing for all, and we support the global community’s commitment to housing as a basic human right.
“People”…and that starts with “P” and the rhymes with “T” and that stands for trouble…right here in Jerusalem City! “Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain. ” Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine. ” Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others. ” Neh 5: 1 -5
And just when Nehemiah thought things were going smooth… Chapter 4 ended on a note of great victory. The people of God were doing the work of God, and they did it despite all obstacles. They worked with a sword in one hand a trowel in the other, and they would not let their enemies stop them. But… Chapter 5 opens with no mention of working on the wall, indicating that the work had stopped. Why did the work stop? § Strife among God's people: The enemy could not stop the work of God by direct attack, but the work stopped when God's people weren't unified and working together. § Infighting between & harm inflicted upon the people: When God's people fight one another they certainly are neither fighting the real enemy nor getting God's work done.
Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me… No Joking Matter! What were the causes of the strife and conflict? § Food/Famine § Extortion § Money § Excessive Taxes § Slavery § Burdensome Interest The former Jewish governors were extortioners and their assistants were even more oppressive. The landless were out of food, the landowners were compelled to mortgage their properties, and those who were forced to borrow money at excessive rates had to sell their children into slavery.
Nehemiah’s Reaction And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, "Each of you is exacting usury from his brother. " So I called a great assembly against them. And I said to them, "According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us? " Then they were silenced and found nothing to say. Then I said, "What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury! Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them. " Neh 5: 6 -11 § He became angry How did § He told them what was wrong st but thought 1 Nehemiah § He called a meeting § He led by example respond and what did he § He implemented a plan to § He rebuked the do? right the wrong extortioners
What does God say about loaning & borrowing? “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. ” Exo. 22: 25 “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. ” Deuteronomy 23: 19 -20 “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. ” Psalm 112: 5 “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ” Luke 6: 34 -35
The Godly Business Man & Woman: Biblical Ethics Christian businessmen and women are called by God to conduct their business according to a sacred standard that transcends traditional business ethics. § TRUST: The Lord desires for us to trust him in everything (Proverbs 3: 5). § JUSTICE: The Lord delights in justice (Proverbs 21: 3). Therefore we must conduct business fairly. We must not cheat our employees. Instead, we pay them fair wages and ensure that their work conditions are appropriate. § DILIGENCE: The Lord expects us to productively use whatever knowledge and resources he has given to us, no matter how great or small (Luke 25: 14 -15). Idleness and laziness have no place in the life of a Christian business professional. § GENEROSITY: The Lord is generous, especially towards the underprivileged (Psalm 113: 7 -9). Christian business professionals go beyond worldly expectations of generosity to help the least of society.
…And The Rulers & Nobles Responded So they said, "We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say. " Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, "So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied. " And all the assembly said, "Amen!" and praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise. Neh. 5: 12 -13 How did the nobles react and respond? § They admitted they were wrong § They agreed to restore to the people § They took an oath before God § They followed with ACTION by keeping their promise
Nehemiah’s Godly Example “Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor's provisions. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God. Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work. ” Neh. 5: 14 -16 What kind of example did Nehemiah set? What did he do?
Nehemiah’s Example of Generosity “And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor's provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people. ” Neh 5: 17 -18 What’s going on here? What is Nehemiah giving up? Why? What is the impact of this leadership decision?
Remember Me, Lord. “Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people. ” Neh. 5: 19 § Nehemiah closes this time in prayer § Nehemiah’s motives were pure § Nehemiah sincerely loved the people and truly wanted to serve them, help them, lead them, and encourage them Have you ever asked God to remember you?
Holy Spirit Lutheran Builds… The journey to build a new sanctuary for the Holy Spirit Lutheran congregation has been long in coming. There’s been… § Debate § Frustration § Money concerns § Up & downs § Questions about where, when, and how Now that we have the land, the money, the architect, the builder, the committee, are our challenges over? A few more questions… § Why do you want a new sanctuary? § What do you hope to see come from this new building? § How do you want this building to serve God? § How do you want God to use this sanctuary? § What is the real “church” of Holy Spirit? § How will you regard this new building?
Here is the church… Here is the Church And invite all the People Here is the Steeple Open the Doors Close the doors and let them Pray Open the doors and send them Away…to serve all their neighbors the very next Day