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Holy Ambition - Exercise Personal Commitment, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2022 6:00 am

Holy Ambition - Exercise Personal Commitment, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 12, 2022 6:00 am

Chip explores the power of commitment and how you can harness that power to turn your life around by following some time-honored principles from the book of Nehemiah.

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You find yourself wanting to do what's right, making commitments and then honestly, not being able to big commitments, marriage, family, friends, if you want to learn how to make personal commitments and keep on today's the day for you. Stay with us.

This edition of living on the trip survival program motivating Christians to live what notice the relationship friendship continues a series of wholly efficient addressing the importance of commitment in God's eyes, and why it's foundational to turn our God shaped dreams into reality better strip with his talk from Nehemiah chapter 3. Talk about a personal commitment is the fifth step to turning God shaped dreams into reality, talk about the awesome power of commitment. Just the idea think about this right now is the most committed person in any area that you know and I mean it can be most committed Christian was quite apparent. Most committed athlete most committed businessperson must committed student who is the absolutely over the top most committed person you know in any area of you got got it here's what I want you on your notes.

Commitment inspires us to greatness. Second commitment protects us from shortsightedness and moments of weakness and third commitment provide stability and focus and results in blessing commitment inspires us to greatness. The reason I brought this ball up is in seventh grade I was.

I think 4 foot eight or nine in eighth grade I made at the 411, or about 5 foot and 1/9 grade I just shot up to 5 feet for and that's when my basketball coach said chip you weigh just about 105 pounds and I think you be a great wrestler and and I wanted to be a basketball player and so I remember going to a dinner between my eighth grade and ninth grade year and back then where I was from ninth grade was a part of junior high and was a large junior high, pretty large school system and I grew up as a little boy going to the Friday night high school games in the entire town would come out to be packed and I mean the greatest thing in my mind ever would to be a part of the blue and gold Gahanna Lincoln Lyons and someday when I grew up you know be up and playing it on the high school basketball team and then my dream after that was to get a scholarship and play somewhere in college I didn't care where just anywhere and so your 5 foot, probably about two between my eighth and ninth grade year and they basically told me that I should try another sport and I went to the sports banquet and this coach from a little university that had a good basketball program called capital University was a speaker and if you ever heard a really good coach there.

There also motivational speakers and he was talking about going to a team in their conference, Kenyon College and during the preseason and his school was playing their school in football and the basketball season when opening about a month and when he was there he saw a young man named John Rankin. This would be about the mid 60s and John Rankin was 5 foot nine and led the nation in scoring and small college, and other was a three point line. The average 41 points again and is only 5 feet nine and he told the story tells a story and he said that when he came in the gym and if that's the basket there genre could be on the side and he chewed and then he would run the gravity go together in line stop shoot run go to the other in line. Many put a chair right here and that he was sick.

Stop plant go and he said he was drenched in sweat. He wasn't like shooting around.

They were drills that he was doing.

He said they came in from the halftime of the football game and he was still doing it. He said the game was over the whole football game and John Rankin is still in the gym, and he made the point greatness is not always or is it rarely matter of ability to matter commitment and one little boy whose big boy now was out of breath doing that. I remember a picture came in my mind and I decided that I was given a basketball player and without exaggeration I practice 6 to 10 hours a day I would dribble in my room. I'd lay on the floor. I spin the ball my finger.

I saw an article about Pete Maravich that came out in Sports Illustrated right about that time they had all these drills he did behind his back and I just I just didn't I try to find guys, three, four, five years older and get in the game and I just played and played and played and played until I got to be one of those high school guys blue and gold Gahanna Lincoln Lyons and then a very small school offered me a scholarship to play basketball at commitment now because of that I didn't go to junior senior prom. Because of that I never put alcohol or drugs in my body.

Not at all because of his religious is not a Christian, I never open the Bible, but commitment gives you focus it gives you stability it inspires to greatness and the other thing he does is when I get tired when I got weak when I wanted to quit when bigger guys were beating me up. It sustained me because I thought to myself. I had that picture of what I wanted to be and I was committed to it. I wasn't just emotionally committed to it. I wasn't intellectually committed to it. I was volitional he and willfully saying what ever it takes whatever price that's what I'm going to do now that's a silly little illustration to the truth because is just a sport but that sport paid my way through college, but later open the door for me to play basketball throughout all South America couple summers. We played every Olympic team and assured Christ at halftime.

And that's where God called me into ministry on a much more serious note, the awesome power of commitment protects you from shortsighted moments of weakness I get to be a committed believer in the people who help me. I begin to read the Bible in the morning. I wanted to follow Christ and and pretty soon we we realize it. God wanted Teresa and myself in full-time ministry and so we got married in December and then probably fairly unwisely.

Six months later, put everything we owned in a truck and we drove to Dallas to go to seminary and I work full time at the school full time had two kids and about 18 months later, we realize we did not communicate do not resolve anger and my wife is making me nuts and I was making her more nuts and apart from an irrevocable willful.

We made a vowel to each other and before God. I would just that this is too hard. It was really hard. I didn't I couldn't fathom that you could love someone so much and feel so angry and so hurt and so rejected. But you know what, once you make a commitment see what commitment does it keeps you from short sighted dropouts or giving ends.

In moments of weakness, and so we went to marriage counseling for my professors and we learned how to communicate relearn how to resolve anger. But here's what I will tell you the thought that we would ever quit was never an option commitment inspires to greatness commitment protects you from shortsighted moments of weakness and commitment provides focus instability and great blessing from God when he ask you how personally are you committed to the people and the things that matter most. Sort of talk about. We learned that a holy ambition.

These God shaped dreams. They start with a dislocated heart. A broken spirit, a radical step of faith.

You develop a strategic plan and then you make a personal commitment about first and foremost to God and then the role on the wall of the kingdom of God were he wants you to serve where he's going to birth that holy ambition noticing your notes I give you definition of commitment. It's a pleasure promise to do something its dedication to a long-term course of action relationship project records and that's want to remind you that when talk about personal commitment I don't mean that you intellectually or emotionally feel like I really ought to do that or I'll try to do it once, convenient, or I really want to do that as long as I'm talking about the kind commitment that says I will choose to do this, regardless of circumstances, regardless of how I feel regardless what comes up against me. This is what I'll do. It's that kind of commitment.

The transform shoe in the people around you.

The dynamics of the dilemma of commitment as this is that I admired when I see it right now. The Olympics don't you just love the Olympics when they when they do the little vignettes and it is little 5 foot two gymnast store.

They tell the story of someone that's gotten up since 430 the morning and an eight are standing on the stage and you to see the product of commitment. I admire commitment I want commitment in my life.

But the fact the matter is it's very hard to keep for all of us were living today were people have a hard time. Forget keeping up with it were living today were people have a hard time making them were afraid to make commitments were so free that will fail, or we see so many people who fail and so if we admired, we long for it.

We know the value. How do you make and sustain personal commitments.

That's what we want talk about in the answers going to be in Nehemiah chapter 3 working to see that he modeled it convincingly. He stepped out. He left his comfort zone.

He left the palace he went to Jerusalem to say he ask for it specifically, he said I need you to help me build this wall. It's God's will. It's worth it. And then finally we can see he created an environment that sustains itself open your notes if you will.

And this is one of those times where I actually put the entire text in your notes and then on the bottom of your notes. I put a picture. This is out of the Zondervan pictorial Bible dictionary is a number of things and it's just a picture of the actual shape of the wall and since it came from a little bit different area. You'll notice in the text here. There's about 12 different gates and in this picture there's about 14 so over the years added a few more gates, or the authors from different periods know when you just look at this. Okay this is just a chapter out of the Bible in front of you on about you, but it just it doesn't just use excitement to me Elias you of the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the sheep gate and a dedicated and they said it's doors in place in building as far as a tower hundred and then they dedicated as far as the tower pen L and the men of Jericho, they built adjoining and Zach are the son of Emre.

They built next to them and then the fish gate verse five in verse six, then the Jewish on a gate and then skip down then you have the Valley gate and then looked down verse 14. The dung gate in the fountain gate and what you see is this is a very unusual chapter of the Bible that has a bunch of names that's geared around a bunch of gates that talk about where people come from the talks about lots of different groups of people and basically summarizes who joined this rebuilding the wall project and then we learn later that in 52 days they get it done and I hope that some of your thinking that you just said we can learn how to make and sustain personal commitments.

How you get that out of this right. I means you just have to make up sermons when you come to chapters like this note. Not at all, let me walk through with you couple observations.

The Scripture says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness and I just want you know I put some circles and some boxes. I put boxes around the geographical areas up at circles around a bit different people that were involved. Let me just walk through some observations and all I did is do some Bible study and when I do Bible study is real simple. I just make observations. What what OIC and then you do interpretation, what is it mean in an application. What's it mean to me to let you talk to quickly some observations you know when I look at this and just hold the notes open. Could we all agreed. The gates are the central focus of this chapter coming to paragraphs break and just there's a line under them the real bold whatever this chapter is about the central focus is the gates. Second, there's a variety of people involved in this work coming.

There's personal names there sometimes as their father, their grandfather where they come from, but I just listed some there's merchants.

There's priest perfumers Goldsmith roller servants, temple servants, daughters, nobles and officials so money just for making observations a lot of different people here notice the project drew people and men from a variety of surrounding areas and towns and by the way, when you do little historical background you realize they were in the midst of the summer harvest. Now think about this.

The implication, this guy comes from Susa and says let's rebuild this wall. This is the will of God and people gone.

But wait a second I live in Jericho that 17 miles from Jerusalem where I live, admits that that's 10 miles or I live in Toccoa that's 10 miles are giving us 6 miles or Beth Sirs 26 miles and so they are leaving the summer harvest their livelihood to join this man who has a word from God, who God is, put his hand upon him, and this is a clear defined will of God. Notice the commitment. It is, it's a commitment of time. It's commitment of travel. It's a commitment of their money in economics, fourth observation is the work began on the gates. It was the most vulnerable place defensively. It was usually the place where you would get water in the city. Second Samuel 2315 and 16 talks about and they went to the city gates to draw water. It's that was the public meeting place. It would be sort of like our marketplaces were business was done is where the elders would meet. You know the big decisions that is where the law was red and so it's it's the it's the center of entry and exit so when we think about making and keeping commitments they started on the place. That was the most strategic the most vulnerable and the most important about why some of the application for your commitments is what we tend to do is do the stuff it's easy first they tackled the most difficult job.

First it was the most important next observation is notice that the approach was very systematic and organized. They began on the sheep gate and go ahead.

Let your mind scan all the way to the end and they went counterclockwise the end on the sheep gate. Each group had a specific responsibility as you scan and read this a bit on your own unit.

This group built according to this will. This group built in front of their house.

This group did this over here so each group had a very specific role, responsibility, and then I love this one that always worked with someone either next to them or after them. If you have time later you can even do it right now just scan quickly every time the word next to him is there but put some sort of squiggly line under it or after him next to him after him next to him after him. It occurs over 25 times in this one chapter. No one works alone. Part of what we learned about motivation and sustaining commitments is that when you get isolated and feel like you gotta lose weight on your own break and addiction on your own. Keep a commitment to God on your own. Take a new step of faith on your own. Usually the last two days to two weeks, but if there's people if there's accountability if there's encouragement, if you know you're not alone. Then you hang in there next observations. Each group worked near their homes or lease was whenever possible. In verse 10, verse 22 verse 26, 28, 29 and 30 and so they didn't have to travel and the other is the resort of the godly vested interest. Can you imagine saying okay Rinne rebuild this part of the wall right here in the walls were. I mean, don't think a little. All these were huge walls you could drive a cherry on top of the walls and then inside the walls that the housing would be built so my living room might be here in an external wall be here. I'm thinking I'm going to do a pretty good job on this part of the wall. If you know the catapults and the stone start, and the arrows in the spirit.

I think I'm to make it pretty thick and pretty good. I'm not can do this well this is good enough for government work right and so he motivates them not only by the great intrinsic were doing this for God, but he puts them in a place that highly motivates them to work in a way that has their best interest in mind. Notice the context is it's preceded by the apex of motivation and minutes followed by a big section of opposition need to remember that is at the end of chapter 2 its last horizon. Nehemiah is here to do it, let's make a difference even in those moments right. You people stand on top of chairs and this is what working to do. Let's go for it will now this is how you sustain it you get fired up, but he has them with people they have clear roles. They make a very smooth specific commitment, they're doing it someone before them. Someone next to them were to learn in just a second that some people going to repair and other people are going to build because our giftedness are different.

Some people really great at fixing stuff and other people think I can fix anything, but they're great with a clean sheet of paper and I can build stuff but then in the context chapters for five and six will be about opposition. I mean, any time you take a step with you decide to start really reading your Bible are really praying or working on your marriage or saying as a family bring you something radical ready to try and eat together like at a table with nothing. Larry like two or three times a week of I'm gonna actually tuck my kids in and read him a story.

I'm going to get with the group of single people were to make a covenant about making a difference in our workplaces were to be sexually pure. Every time you take any, step of faith like that. It'll usually get worse before it gets better. So chapter 4, you get external opposition in chapter 5. There's internal opposition.

In the chapter 6, he gets personal attack so people who make these kind of commitments they change, they change people around them and they change the world but it usually starts with some very significant time of motivation and he gets clear. This is what we gotta do and then they start this process and usually is followed by things that are very difficult.

Notice who started the work. It's the high priest, different people have responsibility that the high priest was the highest representative of God and notice the very first line he models that the ragtag group finished it in 52 days in.

I have a friend who's an engineer who said this is an absolute engineering miracle with an impossibility in the notice. They worked in affinity groups.

If you could study little bit longer. The priest worked together the merchants. The goldsmiths work together they worked in family servants and then they work in geographical areas so they knew each other.

I mean, when you work your more motivated to work with people that they can have some kinship with many it's it's true today like some of you are like a real techie and you can talk in languages about understanding some of your more artistic and some of your unit more athletic and some of you have come from different parts of the country and some come from different countries and there's just an affinity of culture and background that as we work together with people that we can understand it helps to sustain motivation helps us keep our commitments.

We understand one another and then the final thing here is that notice there were two special commendations in verse five. Skip down there you can see that he talks about the nobles they didn't put their shoulder to the work. So now I now imagine first imagine all these individual names God doesn't accomplish his will by some big blanket thing. Think of all the individual names and imagine maybe the very next generation.

These people are like your father or your grandfather's God accomplishes things, not by groups and movements in programs he doesn't. One person, one life at a time and so that's how important individuals are all the specific names and he knows he knows who slacken off and if you skip down to verse 20. Notice the Stella Brook it says he worked zealously.

God sees people's motives. He sees people's hearts. He knows where your writing is were I met in all this long list is as you know, this fellow really didn't carry his weight and this person over here is all those are observations right is a fair damages it's in the right will turn to the back page and let's turn those observations into some very specific principles about how you can help make and sustain your personal commitments at and as we do. Can I ask you to lean back minutes. When I study the Bible, I'd that's just what I do okay when I study this for the first time I read it over a bunch of times and then I started looking up at a line under all the gates and that I started thinking is a lot of people's I circled the different people in, but then then I began to ask why, why is chapter 3. Here, why didn't this particular group at this particular time with this particular leader actually accomplish the task. When others have failed. What is it that I can learn about these groups and the affinities in building and repairing in after him and next to him. That would help me personally make commitments and sustain because the end of the day. God didn't put this in his word just so that we can understand Nehemiah 3.

He knew that we'd be sitting in this room. In this day with the issues that you face and I face precise personal commitment. Holy ambition turning God shaped dreams into reality in the study of Nehemiah chip uncovers six crucial conditions every day. People need to grasp in order to accomplish incredible things for God and as were learning this process is not for the faint of heart.

It requires determination, faith, courage, and an unwavering commitment. Discover how with God's help, you can harness those qualities and make an eternal impact with your life. For complete details on all of our resources for holy ambition go to or call us at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003, or hapless nurse Special offers are Bible teacher Chip Ingram is with me now and chip.

This idea of turning our God shaped dreams into a reality is really near and dear to your heart. I'll take a minute and ensure why the series is special to you. Would you and maybe what you're hoping our listeners will learn from this teaching will Dave gets near and dear to my heart because out of this series was the very first book that I ever wrote.

Holy ambition was something I wrestled with a lot of my heart. Dave and I had these these dreams in a hard to reach her a whole city in the first one was a little town of about 3000 people and then God moved me to to Santa Cruz.

It was like how can we reach like 200,000 people and and I had this this tension between Lord and my just arrogant toward these dreams from you and as I studied the book of Nehemiah. I saw that this very regular person was put in a place where he had this ambition for God and Dave, I just can't tell you, like the lights came on and I realized that's for all of us. Whether were a pastor or missionary or even more business people with leadership skills.

It's not wrong to be ambitious is wrong to be selfishly ambitious, but it's very right to have a holy ambition for God and what I realize that there's some people that feel like you know God could never use me and there's other people who have this idea all I think God speaking to me. But oh, that would take a lot of money and a lot of time and probably someone way smarter than me and what came out of this series was a book that for the last 20 years is helped ordinary people dream God inspired dreams and move them from a thought to a reality in working to share some of those stories and I think it's going to be a series that regardless where people were at. We all have this deep desire to be used by God to make a difference especially in the Kona world that were living in today so Dave could you take just a minute and tell people how to get this book. Glad to chip to order the newest addition of holy ambition go to or call us at AAA 333-6003 for this resource. Triple walk through a step-by-step process to turn your dreams and good intentions into a God infused reality. Now during this series, we discounted this latest edition of Chip's book so order yours today.

Simply go to or give us a call at AAA 333-6003 hapless nurse Special offers or that triplets get to your application for this message. As you listen to today's message.

I wish we could've been together with the Bible open because when you look at Nehemiah chapter 3 and see this list. I mean a list of gates and people and details and hardening you look at that you think what could be here and yet God cares so much about individuals that he records their names and what they did and where they're from, why because God doesn't just know in general. He knows specifically, he knows you. He knows your name. He knows where you go to work. He knows what driveway you pull into he knows the burdens on your heart, and he wants you to be teamed up with other people to accomplish his purposes right where you're at and here we have a picture of how God did it. He did an impossible thing we didn't do it by some miraculous waving of the hand he did it by regular ordinary people finding their place starting at the most strategic spot being tied together with affinity and deep relationship and then working together in cooperation and coordination. Each person having their commitments sustained by the relationships in the projects that they were designed to do so let me ask you how you doing with your commitments.

What kind of help and support.

Might you need to keep the commitment to be the kind of marriage partner. You know God wants you what ministry are you involved in that. You need to have a cup of coffee with someone and talk about what's going on.

You see, there was someone next to them and someone after them. That tied them together you need that if you're struggling with keeping your commitments may not be that your weak willed and that your terrible person and you just can't stay with it.

It might be that you're not in the kind of environment that fosters and sustain commitments. You are important to God. Could I encourage you to get close to others that are committed to the Lord and get the kind of encouragement you need to fulfill that special place that only you can do. That's a great reminder trip banks will just before we close. I want to thank those of you who regularly gives to the ministry of Living on the Edge you're making a big difference in helping Christians live like Christians you're enjoying the benefits of Living on the Edge, but aren't get on the team would you do that today.

You can set up a recurring donation by calling us at AAA 333-6003 or by visiting us online at hapless nurse top donate. Thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do over all of the services the jury saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge

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