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May 12, 2022 3:00 am
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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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Learn firstname.lastname@example.org and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith, prayer changes things for changes you sometimes never changes. You change the prayer brings heaven's power to her today on a new beginning from the book of Nehemiah pastor Greg Morey has insights on the transformative power of God seems Nehemiah Nehemiah, she things you want your prayer to be willing to be a part of the answer is one thing, the piston is connected to a crankshaft crankshaft with transmission and the bone is connected to the leg bone in your car pastor Greg Laurie points out the rear today will see we may be the your worldview. Maybe the thing is, wherever we fit today. We can put our efforts here is that we have a problem those of the words from Apollo 13. By the way the phrase Houston we have a problem, or the most famous words uttered in the history of space travel five words could have been Nassau's worst disaster ever.
And of course it was Apollo 13 56 of the way of their journey to the moon and Johnsons were released from the spacecraft and all other instruments went dead and they called back and said Houston we have a problem meant that the will.
Fortunately, there's a happy ending to that particular story. There were able to get back again. But maybe you said that recently we have a problem there's an unexpected problem that is come your way of life. Your spouse just came to you and said they want out of the marriage are your child came up to you and said I don't want to be a Christian. Or maybe you found value of a serious health crisis or maybe your cat walked out the door this time.
For the last time I was going to throw that into some random in the midst of all this puppy for that. Thank you.
But seriously it's something beyond your ability to fit Houston we have a problem well. This argues that it heavenly father, I have a problem we call out to God when we have crisis we call out to the Lord will were in trouble and that's what Israel was doing when their city lie in ruins. The temple would be rebuilt under Ezra, but the great walls of Jerusalem that once stood proud around the city protecting it were now lying in charge burned out rubble enter Nehemiah the cupbearer who was going to bring the solution to the problem. By the way, Nehemiah was not a builder. Nehemiah was not an architect. Nehemiah, like I said was the cupbearer which meant that he tasted the food, the king ate before the king tasted it and he drank the wine before the king drank it was actually a great job because you lived in the very lap of luxury and in the palace with close proximity to the king, he may have been the second most powerful man in all of the kingdom will one day some of his fellow Jewish brothers came to visit him and he said hey how are things going back in Jerusalem it is that you really want to know things are bad and I think sometimes we don't want to know what's going on somewhere else. Especially if it's bad news right I don't hear about the problem out of the mission field. I don't want to hear about that crisis over here. I want to hear about the problem over there. They were afraid information may bring obligation, but it's true. It will but listen were all in this together and so some Christians are suffering we care about that because the Bible says when one suffers, we all suffer one of us is exalted for all exalted so Nehemiah care when he heard this news, by the way, it was a day like any other day for Nehemiah in the corridor of the king and that was the day that would change his life. Just like it was an ordinary day with David when out watching this block and that was the day the prophet showed up and anointed him. The king of Israel. It was a day like any other day, when Moses was shepherding because she when the Bush wouldn't stop burning and he heard the voice of God.
It was a day like any other day when Peter James and John were mending their nets after a night of failed fishing when Jesus called them to go fishing for men. And so is a day like any other day when Nehemiah was there in the court but when he heard the news of the plight of his fellow Jews. He decided to take action lesson.
Some people talk about things other people do things. Some people are part of the problem. Other people are part of the solution. It's very easy to be a critic. It's very easy visit will I do like this are really don't think this is good the way they do this to church, or the way that it will then be part of the solution just down around a critique it safe.
Have an idea what we can do this more effectively, or be more efficient. He took action again.
The walls of the city were in ruin. This all goes back to how Israel, God thrown in the captivity, they kept worshiping false gods cuts all right you like false gods send you to idols. Central Babylon, though they were There for 70 years. Well, Nebuchadnezzar ultimately replaced by his grandson Belshazzar were overthrown. Enter Cyrus in the Medo Persians and virus that the first wave of them go back and Ezra the priest rebuilt the temple, but the walls of Jerusalem are still in rubble. So a lot of time is passed now and then the news reaches Nehemiah in the king's court in the Arctic Xerxes. The ruling king is going to allow Nehemiah to go and do something about it to the walls of the city were important.
Obviously they serve the function of protection, but they were more than that. They were a symbol and even more at the gates of the wall. That's where the leadership would meet and make decisions with the elders would meet walls better walls better in our lives as well. The walls of faithfulness protect our marriages. The walls of marriage protect the family and the walls of the family protect the nation. Either he could take almost every social little in America today and trace it directly back to the breakdown of the family and sometimes a redefinition of the family as well, which is also part of the breakdown of the family is God created, and intended it. I mean you look at the rise in crime you look at out of wedlock pregnancies. You look at the drug epidemic, and so many of the other problems in our culture today.
The gang issue so often. It goes back to a broken home, a divorce told more specifically the lack of a father. It's been said that repeated this quite a few times that a family can survive without a nation but a nation cannot survive without the family, so America needs the family out of the people of Israel rebuild the walls answer one brick at a time. How do we rebuild our country answer one brick at a time, one home at a time when family at a time. It starts in your home and it starts in my Nehemiah or the do about the broken down walls in the Bible says he wept. He wept after his weeping team working. Listen, you cannot lighten the load in someone else's life into you first felt the pressure in your own so Nehemiah takes action and really he shows us how to take action. As I pointed out earlier Nehemiah in many ways is a book about leadership were all called to be leaders in some way shape or form. So let's learn from the leadership example of Nehemiah. Let's start with point number one of this to be a little bit of recap of what we looked at them will dig into our text today. Number one. A good leader is first a good follower and acknowledges their need for God. Let me restate that a good leader is first a good follower and will acknowledge your need for godly diversified Nehemiah what he hears this news praise and says oh God of heaven, Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands. So first he just acknowledges the greatness of God.
You're the all powerful, all-knowing sovereign God in heaven.
You Lord are awesome.
That's how Jesus taught us to pray the Lord's prayer.
He said pray this way our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven before you hit God up with your laundry list stop and contemplate his glory. And if you do, your list will change the will is your problem seem so big when you come to church today with a big problem but I think is you get a better idea of how big your God is you realize God is bigger than your problem so you start by acknowledging the greatness of God Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when the studies touched lives. Listen to these comments from one of her listeners, Pastor Greg, I remember the very first time I heard your voice and I knew I would have to listen.
It was about five years ago and I was riding my car a snippet of one of your sermons came on.
Between songs on a Christian station and I've been a fan ever since.
I really like your jokes to sometimes corny but always funny. You make me a better Christian and I thank you for that.
I need all the encouragement I can get to walk the straight and narrow. I appreciate you my brother in Christ, if you have a story to share. Why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the 1-866-871-1144, 866-871-1144.
What were learning about leadership today from the example of Nehemiah. Pastor Greg is pointed out first.
A good leader is a follower and acknowledges his need for God must continue number two. Nehemiah reminded God of his promises. He says in verse five you keep your covenant.
Another was Lord you made a promise to Israel and then messed up and now were turning back to you and we want to make it right. So Lord keep your promise and he will and he did and he will for you to member. I pointed out, there's like 3000 promises in the Bible for the believer. Sort of like unclean gift cards.
Let's just leave them sitting in a drawer. Let's appropriate those promises in our life. Number three.
Good leaders know they don't have all the answers and they confess their sins. Good leaders know they don't have all the answers and they confess their sins in verse seven of chapter 1 of Nehemiah. I confess we've sinned against you. Yes, even me in my own family and I have sinned.
Notice he says we in my own family and I have sent you know it's interesting as you look at the life of Nehemiah don't really read of any sin in his life not suggesting he was sinless. What I am saying is, he was not compromise worshiping false gods, like others were yet he admits his sin which we all should do and he wants to be a part of the solution. Listen, it's true that prayer changes things. It's also true that prayer changes you sometimes prayer changes you and you change thing. Think about it this way, God seems Nehemiah and Nehemiah change things if you want God to answer your prayer. You have to be willing to be a part of the answer so you don't just pray about it. You say what role can I play in this. My friend James Merritt spoken here quite a few times said this and I quote, there's a difference between streamers and leaders dreamers dream about things being different leaders determined to make a difference." So a dreamer will talk about it. A dreamer will dream about it but a leader will come up with a plan and do something. And if we learn nothing else from the book of Nehemiah.
We learn this, whenever you face walls in your life that are falling down. Whether it's in your own life or the life of your family or at your job forever.
The first place to go is to God in prayer and asking for help. Number four. Nehemiah was specific in his request to God. Verse 10 to 11 Lord, hear my prayer, listen to the prayers of those who delight in honoring you grant me success today. Listen, making the king favorable to me putting in is hard to be kind to me.
Get a plan he's going to go to the king and ask him to pay for it. Nehemiah was going to go to the king and say I'm building a wall in your paying for it. He wanted Artaxerxes to pay for it.
That was the plan so he brings the plan to the king, reminding us that there is a place for this spiritual as well as the practical in your life. Every one of us is going to have a Nehemiah moment, a moment what we come to a fork in the road and one road leads to comfort than the other road leads to sacrifice one road leads to treasures on earth, the other road leads to treasures in heaven, it's a moment when you take whatever position your red in you say I'm going to leverage this for God. This is not about me.
This is about God and his glory.
This is really what it is to be a disciple.
Remember we were looking at what the Bible teaches about discipleship and Jesus showed us that if we want to be his disciple. We must love God more than anyone or anything else level more than our husband or wife or our son or daughter or career, or even her own life. Love God more than anyone or anything else. Number two, we learned that if we want to be as disciple we take up the cross and deny ourselves and then we find the life were looking for.
And thirdly it we want to be his disciples. We surrender our claim to everything that we have. We realize, it belongs to God. So we give the title be of our life over to God or we give the pink slip of our life over to God. That's discipleship.
That's what Nehemiah was about to do.
So let's read his plan. Here's how it came down Nehemiah 2 starting in verse one early the following spring in the month of Nissan that's different than the month of Toyota during the 20th year of King Artaxerxes ring I was serving the king is one I've never appeared sad in his presence of the king asked me why you looking so sad you know, looks sick to me. You must be deeply troubled that I was terrified, but I replied, long live the king how can I not be said for the city where my ancestors are buried in is in ruins and the gates of been destroyed by fire. Then the king asked well how can I help you with a prayer to the God of heaven.
I replied if it please the king and of your pleas of mere servant. Send me to rebuild the city where we ancestors are buried with the king of the Queen sitting beside a mask. How long will you be gone one when you return, and I told him how long I would be gone that the king agreed to my request.
That brings us to our next point. Nehemiah spent more time praying the needed building, let me say that again.
Nehemiah spent more time praying.
Then he did building four months had passed before Nehemiah popped the question to the king.
Sometimes the Lord will give you an idea to give you a vision to give you a concept but timing is everything. So you decide to wait for the right moment to go to the next place there and I think we don't like to wait you know we like everything everything fast. I mean we used to have to wait for stuff a member when we first started being able to access movies and we go to Blockbuster member Blockbuster and you would buy something called of videotape works is you would rent and I and then member the little sign. Be kind rewind member that you rewind it and all you will go to other they don't have the tape you want. Then we moved to DVD technology Okinawa rent the DVD, then Netflix comes along and they mail you the DVD okay so you order the one you want online and it comes what it takes a day or two for it together but I would just stream it went out of the way printing we just click it and we stream it so everything comes fast to us, so when we hear about waiting. That's an alien concept in a culture that is used to a median gratification but Nehemiah waited know this waiting time is never wasting time they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.
They will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40 tells us. Point number two or really point number six and whatever number you want, but next point Elsa, there's a time to pray and there's a time to move. There's a time to pray and there's a time to move the king asked why Nehemiah looks so sad. By the way that the job description of a cupbearer was pretty specific. You needed always be there at the king's beckon call to taste his food and you are to be encouraging to show you'd be a counselor to the king of confidant of the king, and so you know this was not a good job. If you are one of those people that had dour disposition right, we'll know people like that.
They're just donor people and you know I sum them up as a couple. It's Debbie downer and her husband Bobby buzz kill.
Okay, so you're having fun with Debbie downer and Bobby buzz kill show up the fund. Because they always have something depressing to say or negative to say are critical to say. I just hope you're not those people the very opposite of them was Nehemiah was insurable by an upbeat guy. So much so that the king actually noticed he looks at Nehemiah care were gleaning some great insights on leadership cupbearer to the king today on a new beginning pastor Greg Laurie is presenting a practical study based in the book of Nehemiah. There's more to come from his message called how to be a successful leader and pastor Greg will have a closing comment just a moment. Have you heard about Pastor Greg's new book is called lemon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus that examines the way so many of the top music artists had it made, but their lives soon unraveled and your pastor Greg. I tried to imagine what it must be like to be extremely famous you know where you can't even go to the grocery store without a mob developing. You can even open your window blinds for fear of paparazzi with telephoto lenses and that's the point you make in the book. These music stars have a lot of stuff but they have a lot of stress to yes they really do. I mean, it's been said careful what you wish for you might get it. And these are people that got what they wish for. And then it even went beyond their wildest dreams. But the problem is the dreams in many cases, turned into a horrible nightmare.
You know, when you look at the founders of rock if you will.
They call them the millionaire quartet Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis call Perkins. They were all produced by a man named Sam Phillips who had Sun records. These guys came from abject poverty. In some cases there were just country boys, all of them was sort of the gospel foundation, all of them were taken the church as young men and of course they all rebelled against it, but interestingly, every one of those founders ultimately came to realize they needed to turn to Jesus. Elvis struggled through the years.
He often sang gospel songs.
There's a lot of fascinating revelations about Elvis Presley.
In this book Lenin Dylan Allison Jesus Jerry Lee Lewis is the only one alive still.
Of the four, but in recent interviews. He's talked about his need to get right with God and of course Johnny Cash became very strong in his faith. I wrote a whole book about Kim as a matter of fact called Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon and then finally call Perkins who wrote blue suede shoes and other great songs. He was a raging alcoholic and actually came to the Lord while he was on tour with Johnny Cash and took his bottle of booze and threw it into the ocean and committed his life to Christ and serve the Lord for the final years of his life. So yeah, these guys experienced it. In some cases girls experienced it and saw the emptiness of it. So this is a very honest book so I start the book with these words, W3 surprises when we get to heaven.
Number one. Some of the people we thought would be there won't be there. Number two.
Some of the people we never thought would be there will be there surprise number three you will be there. So these are some of the people you never thought would be there who will be there because no one is beyond the reach of God.
What we hope you contact us for your own copy of Pastor Greg's new book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. The subtitle is the spiritual biography of rock 'n' roll there so many lessons to be learned from the lives of dozens of artists who show us where the pursuit of fame and fortune ultimately leads and will send this book. Your way to thank you for your partnership. It's only through the investments of listeners that we can continue to bring Pastor Greg's insight your way each day. So thanks for prayerfully considering how you can help and will thank you. With the book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus just call us at 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24 seven phone number 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org will pastor Greg has been talking about Nehemiah the cupbearer today and have a cupbearer's job was to be a counselor and an encourager to the king you have more insight next time.
But he closes by mentioning someone he knows that some encourager by nature. One of the happiest guys I know you known to his pastor Ricky Ryan right, this guy is always happy people about sleep. What is he like in private, Jesus say he that way all the time.
He's excited about ordering food then he's excited about ordering dessert, then he is excited about going surfing in the morning and he's excited about taking a nap later in the day, then he's excited about Bible study that night and he's excited about praying and he's excited about everything these always smiling.
These just that God affect the smile so much that one time when I saw him not smiling you was like Nehemiah like what happened while I knew what happened. Like I was responsible for him and I were going surfing and he had a brand-new surfboard and you know if your server and get a new board.
You hate getting that first thing right so you were tying the board down on the top of the car. The rocks and he let me tie it down Christmas Day.
I have no board tiedown skills at all so I untied the board down and I'm driving behind were driving down to the beach. He's ahead of me.
I see the board stuck and all of a sudden the board just came off the top of the car just in the year just floating around, then hit the two men who had room and support so we both pulled over on the call know now and Ricky gets out he was not smiling. What I guess they didn't write down very well. Sorry all buy you a new one. Then he sort of smiled again, so that's Nehemiah, why you so that you're always smiling.
Well I am sad because of the plight of my people in the Arctic Xerxes.
The ruling king is going to allow Nehemiah to go and do something about it.
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