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The Rebuilt Life | Christians in Ministry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2022 3:00 am

The Rebuilt Life | Christians in Ministry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 10, 2022 3:00 am

Ministry, essentially, is a “to do list” from God. Once we’ve come to the Lord, our sins are forgiven and our names are written in the Book of Life, what’s next? The Lord has a few suggestions. And whether we stand at a pulpit or a drill press, whether we deliver babies or bottled water, whether we work inside or outside the home, God has work for us to do right where we are. From the book of Nehemiah, today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us solid counsel.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey, everybody. You're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at gregatharvest.org. Again, it's gregatharvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie offers practical advice to help strengthen our ministries on an individual basis. I think sometimes we might think, well, pastors or missionaries or people that work for churches, they're in ministry.

But every Christian is in ministry, in a sense, because ministry is simply service. Well, we're saying, God, you put me where I am for a reason and I am available to serve you. And I want my life to bring glory to you. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Again, you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Whether babies or bottled water, whether we work inside or outside the home, God has work for us to do right where we are. From the Book of Nehemiah today here on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us solid counsel. This is the day, the day when life begins. We commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. All right, who's ready to study the book of Nehemiah? Raise your hand.

Excellent, excellent. Grab your Bibles and turn quickly to Nehemiah chapter one. Nehemiah chapter one, it might not be a book that you're all that familiar with. It's page 475 in my Bible. But that's usually not the best way to find something because you probably have a different Bible than I have. But Nehemiah chapter one and the title of my message is The Rebuilt Life. I want to remind you that I always encourage you to read ahead so for next time read Nehemiah one and Nehemiah two. In fact, just read through the whole book.

That would be the best thing. You know as you look at America today, I don't know when we've ever been more divided. We're really divided along racial lines.

Racial tensions seem to be at an all time high. We're divided along political lines. We've always had political divisions but I can't think of a time where we're more divided than we are in this particular moment.

We're divided along ideological lines. Then we see the breakdown and redefinition of the family. And honestly, that is at the root of a lot of our problems in America today. The increase in crime, the increase of drug use, the increase of so many problems we're facing can be traced directly back to the breakdown of the family.

Then we have violence in the streets and we have threats to our personal and national security. What are we going to do to turn our nation around? Can we turn our nation around? Well, we're going to see a lot of parallels here between our lives and the story of Nehemiah. This is the story of one man who took action and made a difference.

His name was Nehemiah and he literally rebuilt a nation. There's so much we can learn together in this book and we will learn together. We're going to learn how to pray when there seems to be no human solution to our problems.

Are you facing a problem like that right now? There's no human solution. We're going to learn what Nehemiah did when he was in the same situation. We're going to learn how to deal with challenges spiritually as well as practically. Sometimes we only want to have a spiritual solution i.e. pray and we don't do anything.

Sometimes we want to do something but we don't pray. We'll learn how the two go hand in hand. We'll learn how to plan our work and work our plan and at the same time trust God. And really the book of Nehemiah is in many ways a book about leadership. So we're going to learn how to boost morale when it's failing.

How to build people up and get them on your team. Maybe you're a leader of your workspace. Maybe you're the boss man or the boss woman. Or maybe you're a foreman on a work site or maybe you're the teacher in the classroom or you're the person in charge in some way shape or form.

But even if you're lower down on the ladder you'll probably be a leader of some kind one day and it seems like everyone leads someone. So there's lessons on leadership here as well. We'll also learn together how to respond to personal attacks and react when lies are told about you. Have you ever had lies told about you? Have you ever been attacked unjustly? Nehemiah faced that.

We'll learn how to react. But first we have to sort of lay a little foundation here with some history of the nation of Israel. Where they were at at this particular moment in time. Now of course Israel was established by God. They were and are God's chosen people. God ruled them through the various judges over time. But Israel wanted a king and he granted their request and gave them a king after their own heart and his name was King Saul. He was the people's choice and he wasn't a very good king.

He started off well but he went off the rails and just his life was a disaster. So God picked someone himself. He was David the shepherd boy who was described after the men after God's own heart. And under the reign of David Israel well they were in their glory days. Around the circumference of the city they built protective walls.

There was around 10 acres of strategic land surrounded by steep hills and these walls. And for 40 years Israel thrived. Jerusalem thrived. But David was getting old and he knew his day was coming to an end so he passed it on to his son Solomon and said Solomon my son know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart.

And then Solomon started off so well. Known for his great wisdom people came from around the world to sit at his feet including the queen of Sheba who said of him the half has not been told. But then Solomon began to compromise and he started getting a bunch of wives. Lots and lots of wives. And then some concubines as well.

If you don't know what those are ask Pastor Paul afterwards he will explain concubines. He was compromising and many of these were pagan women and it resulted in trouble coming right there into the throne but soon Solomon died and then Israel split right in two. And the northern tribes are ruled by Jeroboam. And the southern tribes are ruled by Rehoboam. And both tribes turned to idols and false gods. The northern tribe fell first and they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. The people of the northern kingdom were absorbed into the various cultures of the world. But the southern kingdom fell later and they were deported by the Babylonians. So because they had this penchant for idolatry God says you want idols?

Hey I will give you more idols than you can shake a stick at. Welcome to Idol Central Babylon. And that is where they lived as captives for 70 long years. And that is when the book of Daniel was written. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon.

Remember one of his advisors was Daniel. And God humbled the great Nebuchadnezzar. And he turned to God but he didn't successfully pass his legacy on because his grandson Belshazzar went out of his way to mock the God that his grandfather believed in. You remember the story of Belshazzar drinking out of the vessels that were set aside for the worship of God and mocking the Lord. And then he saw a hand writing on the wall. And God said, you have been weighed in the balances and you have been found lacking because right outside of his kingdom was Cyrus and the Medo-Persian forces who were ready to come in and conquer Babylon. So now Cyrus is the king. And he gives a decree that the Jews can go back to Jerusalem.

So in approximately 536 BC the first wave of Jews returned to Judah under Jerusalem. Now I know what some of you are thinking. Greg this is so boring. I don't need a history lesson.

Actually you do. Because listen to this. History is his story. So we need to learn from history.

And so this is setting the stage for what we are about to read. We need to have context as we look at the book of Nehemiah together. So here are the Jews now returning to Jerusalem.

Though they were opposed by the Samaritans they succeed in rebuilding the temple. And a number of years later around 458 BC a second wave of Jewish people returned under the direction of Ezra. Ezra was a priest.

He was a spiritual leader. And upon arriving the children of Israel were in a state of spiritual decline. The problem was there was intermarriage with the pagan tribes. Intermarriage. By the way God is not against interracial marriage. He is against interfaith marriage.

Ok. So it is not an issue. And anyone who makes an issue of interracial marriage doesn't know what they are talking about. The big thing for God is that we find people that share the same faith that we share.

Because I will tell you what. Marriage is hard enough without adding the element of a non-believer to it. This is why the Bible says don't be unequally yoked together with non-believers.

For what fellowship does light have with darkness? And you might say well I am going to marry a non-Christian guy and I am going to lead him to Christ. Yeah I will concede that does occasionally happen.

But occasionally. Far more often what happens is instead of the believer pulling the non-believer up the non-believer pulls the believer down. And that is why the Bible warns against it. And that is what happened to Israel.

They are intermarrying with all these pagan tribes and so they are totally compromised. And it is just a big mess. So Ezra calls these people out to repent and they did.

And then the Jewish temple was rebuilt but the walls of the city were in shambles. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It is such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg, magnificent. This is just one of the words that enters my thoughts after completing your book Revelation a Book of Promises. It has never taken me so long to read a book because I was just absorbing the information contained in each and every chapter.

I kept saying to myself I am so glad I won't be here when the tribulation happens. Pastor Greg, I love your preaching and I listen to you on the radio and to your podcasts. I am sending you a very big thank you and I am so happy that God blessed you with the calling to preach to his followers. We are so grateful to hear of the changed lives through the books and resources of Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries.

If you have a story to share, why not contact us and let us know. Email Pastor Greg. Greg at Harvest.org.

Do it today, would you? Again, that's Greg at Harvest.org. Pastor Greg is laying the foundation for our study series in the book of Nehemiah. Let's continue his message now called The Rebuilt Life.

So the temple's rebuilt but the walls are still in chambers. It's sort of like they started the job but they didn't finish it. Kind of like the way I clean things, right? My wife, she's very efficient as a cleaner. You know, she'll make food for me to eat and she's cleaning the dish before I finish eating. You know, I have to climb partially into the dishwasher to finish it and get sprayed in my face, things like that. She's always cleaning, cleaning, efficient, cleaning. I let messes store up the other day.

I was looking in my office and it just looks like a bomb went off in there. You know, books stacked on books and papers and all these things. And so I said, I'm going to get it right today. And so I got it all sorted out but I just left like two or three little piles.

I said, I'll get to those later. You know what happened, right? Now those piles are big piles and it looks as bad as it looked before and I have to start all over again. That's what Israel looked like. That's what Jerusalem looked like.

They got some things done but they didn't get all the things done. So enter Nehemiah. He's the man that God is going to use. He's not a priest like Ezra. He's what you would call a layman.

I don't like the term layman myself. It's sort of a term that's used to describe someone who is not quote in ministry end quote. You know I think sometimes we might think well pastors or missionaries or people that work for churches. They're in ministry but actually you know I flip burgers or I work in the corporate world or I'm in construction or I'm in education so I'm not in ministry. Au contraire. Which is French for snails with garlic. No that's gargoyle.

No. Every Christian is in ministry in a sense. Because ministry is simply service.

Where we are saying God you put me where I am for a reason and I am available to serve you and I want my life to bring glory to you. So God didn't pick another priest to finish the job. He picked a different kind of guy who is part of what we might think of today as the presidential cabinet. He picked Nehemiah who was the right man in the right place at the right time.

Nehemiah was the cup bearer to King Artaxerxes who was the leader of the Medo-Persians. This would be like being maybe the chief of staff to the president of the United States. You control access to the oval office.

So if you want to see the president you go to the chief of staff. If you wanted to see King Artaxerxes you went through Nehemiah. This had to be a man that the king could trust. Actually it had to be a man that the king liked. Because he spent a lot of time with him because whenever food was served to the king Nehemiah ate it first. And basically if Nehemiah died the king would not eat that food. And he would eat a cup bearer.

A new one rather. And he would drink of the cup before the king would drink of it. But in time he became the confidant of the king. He became the counselor to the king. In many ways he was the second most powerful man in all of the nation at this point. So a very successful job and a super cushy one at that.

And you wouldn't want to jeopardize it. But despite this luxurious life Nehemiah was concerned about others. That is where his heart was. In a perfect world he didn't want to be in the palace. He wanted to be in the temple. In other words he had the finest this world has to offer. But he wanted to be with God and with God's people.

And he cared about them. Is that how you feel during the week? You know maybe at work or school or whatever you say. I can't wait until Sunday. We are going to worship the Lord. We are going to get into the Word of God.

You look forward to it. Like the psalmist who said, I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Is that how you felt when you came to church today? Are you glad to be in the house of the Lord right now?

If so yeah that is good. Listen to this. When you are living a godly life you will want to be with godly people. Very simple. When you are living a godly life you will want to be with godly people.

Let me turn it around. If you are not living as godly of a life as you ought to you will not want to be with godly people. So basically Nehemiah is saying, Yeah this is nice living here in the palace next to the king but I care about God's people. You know sometimes people will say things like, Well I love Jesus. I just can't stand the church.

That is like the stupidest thing ever by the way. Because if you love Jesus you will love His people. And don't say you love Jesus if you don't love His people. First John 4.20 says, If a person says I love God but hates his brother he is a liar. If a person does not love his brother whom he has seen how can he love God whom he has not seen? Nehemiah loved God and he loved his people. His fellow Jews.

So he asks about them. So we are in Nehemiah chapter 1 starting in verse 1. And by the way I am reading from the New Living Translation. In late autumn in the month of Kislev. You know that month right? Kislev.

That would be around November to December on our calendar. In the 20th year of King Artaxerxes reign I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani one of my brothers came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me things are not going well for those who return to the province of Judah are in great trouble. And disgrace the wall of Jerusalem has been torn down and the gates have been destroyed by fire.

So we will stop there. So Nehemiah was deeply moved and touched by this. He thought I am in this position.

I am in for a reason. He decides he is going to bet the farm and go for broke and leverage his position of influence and go to King Artaxerxes and try to fund a building program to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. He realized he was where he was because God wanted him there. Have you ever stopped and thought about the fact that you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now? I mean right here. Right now. In church.

Yes. Wherever you are. This is where you should be. But it is also true of the neighborhood you are in. Or the workspace you are in. Or the campus you are on. Or wherever you might be.

You might say, oh man if I could just change my circumstances. Did it ever occur to you that you are where you are supposed to be? Nehemiah realized this. Hey God put me here and I am going to do something with this position he has given to me. Pastor Greg Laurie is just getting started in a great series examining the leadership and example of Nehemiah. And there is much more to come here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg I have a copy of your new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

Which we are making available right now. Yes. Let me read something from your book if I may. It is in a section talking about Prince. And you write, contrary to popular belief, adversity is not the greatest test of character. Overnight success is.

Just ask Des Dickerson who was Prince's dazzling lead guitarist from 78 to 83. He said this, fame was like this vertical take off. And suddenly there are more people around you. Oh we have roadies now. Oh we have body guards now.

And they are there for a reason too. We experienced many riots. We couldn't walk down the street.

And they had to cordon off the floor of our hotel. What that does to your head is beyond description. And what it does to the human psyche is a whole other thing. There is this internal mechanism that unconsciously begins to take form. And your equilibrium gets so skewed that you find yourself doing and saying things that aren't you.

And then get this, he says, you become your own press release. I thought that was very telling. Yeah that is very insightful.

And that is written by someone who knows what they are talking about. And think about Prince himself. An incredibly talented man died of a drug overdose. I mean so many have died of drug overdoses. You would have thought that Prince would have said, hey my friend Michael Jackson died this way. Hey Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin died this way. Hey Chester Bennington died this way. He actually took his own life. I don't want to die that way.

But that is exactly how he died. And I think people take drugs to numb the pain. Because they just don't know how to live with this altered state of reality they find themselves in.

They need Jesus. And I think so many people look to these rock stars saying, oh I wish I was them. No you should not wish you were them. But you have your challenges.

You have your pressures. And really Christ is the answer for everyone. He is the answer for the rock star. He is the answer for the unknown person. He is the answer for the billionaire. He is the answer for the person that doesn't have two pennies to rub together. He is the answer for every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, every person. So I've written this book to say no one is beyond the reach of God. Don't stop praying.

Don't give up on these people. You know, I think about electronic dance music DJ Avicii. His real name was Tim Bergling. Avicii had global success. Thousands of people would come to his rave concerts and thought he was the greatest thing ever. But Avicii was a young man who according to his parents was searching for peace and the meaning of life. Tragically he began to drink extensively and his liver was failing. And the doctor told him he had to cease and desist from drinking or he would die.

He's still a very young guy. But then he made somewhat of a recovery and retired from his career and then ended up taking his own life in the worst way imaginable. But I think a lot of these guys are searching for peace and meaning. Why are they here on this earth? And really we all are when you get down to it.

Except these people have had all the success this world offers and have realized how empty it is. I explore the lives of a lot of rock stars past, present, and ones that are emerging on the scene right now. So it's not just about rock music.

It's just about this. Don't take the wrong course in life. Don't think that things will fill that void in your life or a career will do it or success will do it or sex will do it or any other thing. What you really want, what you really need is a relationship with God. And we have a lot of rock stars that we talked to for this book and we interviewed that will tell you that from personal experience. As always, Christ is the answer.

Yeah, yeah, that's right. So many reasons to dig into this spiritual biography of rock and roll. It's actually a group of short biographies. Several dozen musicians and artists and what we can learn from their lives. It's fascinating and a great tool to help you share your faith.

Let us send you Lennon, Dillon, Alice, and Jesus. It's our thank you gift to those who can partner with us right now so that these daily studies can continue. Your donation also helps us reach out with the gospel as we did just a few weeks ago at Boise Harvest. So contact us today. Our phone number is 1-800-821-3300. We're always ready to take your call 24-7. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well next time, Pastor Greg brings us more from this foundational study in the book of Nehemiah. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-21 08:49:26 / 2023-04-21 08:59:23 / 10

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