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The start of the year is a great time to refocus and catch God’s heart for our lives.  Many people make resolutions, make lifestyle changes, take holidays as well as those who start new jobs or new courses.

We’ve been talking about Occupying your Occupation at the start of this year at church – getting a vision for a significant part of our lives, and reframing it from just work to being on mission.

God has placed us in our workplace, our classes, our circles of influence on purpose and with a purpose and when we catch His heart for these spaces in our lives we can see significant things happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today is Day 16 in the 30 Days of Hustle and reminded us about the DIP that can sometimes happen when we’re dreaming.

you know, that moment when everything feels stagnate, including your heart.

when the going gets tough, and life interrupts.

when the shiny new thing feeling wears off.

when the results deflate your determination.

it happens when the novelty of the choices and the hustle become meh.

 

The concept is simple. Seth Godin argues that in any endeavor or goal there is a period of easy wins. He uses learning Spanish as an example. When you first start studying, it’s fun to pick up those initial words and you feel like you made some progress. But after this rise in your ability, you hit what he calls the Dip, a time when things get hard.

This is the valley of any adventure where most people quit. This is conjugating verbs or the 7 days in a row when the scale doesn’t move an inch. This is the Dip. And I would suggest that depending on what you are trying to do, it can start happening as early as day 16. So if you are in the Dip or will hit it soon, here are three things I think you should do:

1.    Admit it. Sometimes, just giving yourself permission to acknowledge that’s where you’re at is very freeing.
2.    Reconnect with your WHY. Remember that from day 2? Studies have shown that if we’ll reconnect with our WHY during difficult times it actually helps us get through them.
3.    Tell your WHO. Don’t go it alone. Tell the person who is holding you accountable what is going on.

The Dip isn’t fun, but it’s often where a lot of growth is hidden.

Jon Acuff

 

Dip happens.

it happened for me when i woke up at 2am on friday morning, knowing that the alarm was going off at ten past six regardless of how well i slept.

when the numbers stayed the same despite no soda and no sweets for 16 days.  16 DAYS peoples!

surely there must be a movement, a reflection of the effort and intention.

 

My WHY is so that i can feel more energetic, master nasty habits, be a better wife / mother / leader, be happier in my own skin.  its about going the distance and increasing capacity for every area of my life.  its about stepping out of the boat and living the dream.  its about living for health and strength.

My WHY reminds me of the core of my motivation, it is the prize i aim for.  Its the reason i can say no, because i’m saying YES to something greater.

 

 

When your dream takes a dip you’ve got to reconnect with your WHY and renew your motivation and purpose.    Its about finding new ways to reenergise your passion.  sometimes its about just doing it, even when  you don’t feel like it.

 

i like what Andy Stanley said in a recent YOUR MOVE podcast – I am doing a great work and i cannot come down.  its a quote from Nehemiah 6 when circumstances and people and negativity try to put a dip in Nehemiah’s dream.  Nehemiah keeps his eyes firmly on his WHY and HOW and resists the dip.  He is doing a great work and will not be discouraged or distracted.

 

I am doing a great work.  I will not come down.  I will not let the dip deter me or determine my destination.

 

 

What do you do to keep motivated when you hit the dip in pursuing your dream?

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“i am doing a great work and can not come down” Nehemiah 6:3

Nehemiah was in charge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. His enemies had tried many methods to stop the work and then they realised that it all hinged on Nehemiah and invited him to the valley of “Oh No” to assassinate him.

Nehemiah responded with “I am doing a great thing and I can’t come down”

In our lives the message is: Don’t be distracted, don’t come off the wall.

You are doing a great work and can not come down.

If Nehemiah had come off the wall he would of been killed. If we don’t give attention to the wall in our lives then it could destroy us.  You have no idea of the result of your building, of being focused, of doing the great work and not coming down.  In your families, in your church, in your ministry, in your school and workplace.  in your life.  You are doing a great thing.

God is doing a great thing through you.  You are positioned by God in your life for such a time as this.  you are called to know God and make Him known.  To demonstrate the reality of His love and grace.

Coming down can compromise and halt the great work of God in your life.

What is calling you down off the wall?

What is distracting you from the great thing?

What strategies is the enemy using to pull you away from your purpose?

Mend the breaches.
Invest in the priorities.
Build the wall.

I am doing a great work and i cannot come down.

Lean into God’s will for your life and build the wall.

Don’t give time to things that destroy your focus.

“i am doing a great work and can not come down” Nehemiah 6:3

Check out the message by Andy Stanley here: <<Watch the series of videos>>

Sometimes after a camp we can be feeling a whole range of feelings. Two of the most common, and polar opposites are:

  1. refocused and ready for action
  2. stirred but unsure of the next step

so its good to press pause and consider a few things, tonight from the life of Nehemiah, as we consider the position we are in and the what’s next.

What is nehemiah’s backstory?

The background story: Nehemiah

Nehemiah was serving a king in exile. His nation lay in ruins. The Babylonians put the people of Israel into exile nearly 70 years previous and then they were taken over by Persia. The people of Israel were given permission to go back to Israel to begin a partial rebuild.

He was involved in the rebuild of the walls of Jerusalem. A contemporary of his is Ezra who was in charge of rebuilding the temple. Zechariah and Haggai are prophets in this timeframe as well.

As a side note: the rebuilding of the walls should have taken years, but they did it in a supernatural time frame – 52 days Nehemiah 6:15

Nehemiah 6:16 all the nations were amazed and recognized the work of God

Don’t we want our lives to be “something” so that people look at us they will see what God has done through us – so that they can draw no other conclusion other than it was God.

 

See the need, be the answer

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

Nehemiah was visited by people who had visited Israel. He heard about the need. But he refused to just be sad about it or talk about it or be worried about it… He became the answer. He positioned himself for God to use Him to bring change. He was open to serve and do something. We are not just saved, we’re called. We’re not just redeemed, we’re recruited.

What is the need you see in your life?

In the people around you?

What is it that you have overcome with the grace and power of God that can help in the church and in the world?

What can you get involved in now?

What are you working towards?

What are your giftings?

Eg

William Booth – not only was the Salvation Army about getting people saved it was about transforming a society. They were involved in child labour laws and alcohol reformation.

George Washington Carver, who Peter talked about on Saturday at the Weekender, was a scientist, and was passionate about discovering products that would make life better for the poor. His discoveries with the peanut, that God gave him, created 300 products that revolutionized the food industry. He’s also responsible for the invention of instant coffee!

I’m passionate about young adults knowing who they are and what God has called them to be and do because in my early 20s they were the big questions in my life.

 

the most important thing about you is that you fulfill your purpose.  There is SOMETHING already in you – your spiritual DNA.  you are wired and created and purposed.

Nehemiah heard about the ruins of Jerusalem and it stirred his heart.  but what he really saw instead of a ruin, was the potential of rebuilding.  he was looking ahead and he saw what this could be, what God has for the city. He later walked all around the city by night and then he shared with all the people of power what his vision was. And they said yeah, let us arise and build, let us complete this work.

Read the rest of this entry »

notes from pastor’s preachng saturday night at our young adults retreat:

Book of Nehemiah is post exile… Israel was naughty – prophets told them to repent, consequence was exile…

Jerusalem destroyed, burned by fire. Jerusalem WAS the greatest city on eart – when Solomon was king gold was so in abundance that silver was of no value, all of the nations had been coming to this city, most powerful city on earth,but because of the disobedice they were exiled.

Nehimiah returns, and remembers the city that was…

Nehemiah 2:11
Nehemiah 2:16-18
Let us arise nad build.

Nehemiah saw instead of a ruin, he was looking ahead and he saw what this could be, what God has for the city. He walked all around the city by night and then he shared with all the eople of power what his vision was. And they said yeah, let us arise and build, let us complete this work.

For us and for this generation,

1970’s – teaching gift re-established and restored in the church

1980’s – the prophetic ministry was restored, people aware that THEY could prophecy (common people)1990’s – move of God

2000 – move of God began to wane, over the last 10 years there has been pockets here and there but seems almost quietish… interesting… if it is quiet there is a reason… sense is this, that (music analogy – crescendo, drops, silence, building again, the most almighty awesome finish) this silence we are in is in the dip in the music (church worldwide) – arising.

God is building… we are going to see in our generation something that eclipses what we have seen in generations before.

We have to fight against – when we walk back into a jeruslaem destroyed to be overshawed by the glory from before that we worry about how to rebuild… shadow of the past overshadowing that we’re rebuilding and that we

have to pick up a shovel and dig so the glory of the house can be rebuilt…

Acts 2: last days, pour out Holy Spirit

In the LAST DAYS

Dream dreams, have visions…. Preparing for Jesus return!

Build something!

When we build on the rock it lasts!

History makers all were just ordinary people who gave it a go and we look at them now and say they are heroes and extraordinary.

Where are the nehemiahs in this generation????

Jesus is worth it! Every last breath I have!

This generation needs people like Nehemiah who wont see a ruin but will see a city, who don’t see just a land but see a city and a nation, who don’t just see an altar but see a temple.

It is time for us to stand up and to act now.

Luke 14 – parable of the feast that a king puts on, sends out people to go and invite people to the great feast, inviting his friends – friends send excuses – then the king looks further and wider and finds those who will come – messengers sent out into the street, invites to those who would come and they came and enjoyed the masters feast…

There are things that are important and really count… in our generation there are tens of thousands of people who don’t know Jesus and it is happening on our watch… we can make our excuses (bags not me)

A church that says bags not to God has nothing happen… lets open our hands wide and say YES GOD SEND ME

Isaiah 6 – who will I send says God… YES GOD, HERE I AM< SEND ME

A person with a nehemiah heart may not feel like an amazing builder, or have anything to give, or that they are gifted… but what made Nehemiah different was that he wasn’t like the others who walked around looking at the ruin and the past, but he stuck at it and pressed on and rebuilt the city… he had a here am I heart…

Here am I lord, when our church is like that God cannot hold himself back, he pours his power out in awesome and mighty ways…

Whatever I have, I am going to pour it out and give.

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan[a] the citadel,  that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  And I said: “I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,  please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.  We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.  Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.  O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer.

I love Nehemiahs prayer and passion for his people.

Nehemiah has a passion for his people, for his land and for God to move.

He is distressed by the news that the walls of Jerusalem have fallen, and that the people left there are broken and heartbroken.

Nehemiah however wasn’t “just moved” – he was moved to the point of action. He prayed. He wept. He fasted. So many of us shake our head at what is going on in our nation, then carry on reading the newspaper, or turn the tv channel onto something more light, without allowing God to speak to our spirits causing us to respond in prayer and intercession and of course action.

I found Nehemiah’s prayer beautiful and powerful. He is beeseaching the God of Heaven. He asks for forgiveness for his people and their sins. Nehemiah knows the Word of God, he knows the Scriptures. He knows and expects God to act according to the truth of His Own Word and promises, and moves to align himself accordingly in faith. He knows God is not a man that He would lie or mislead, but that God is trustworthy, that God means what He says. Nehemiah takes hope in that. He reminds God of His Word, trusting that God will act according to His heart.

Nehemiah also has a plan or the beginnings of a plan and calling in his mind. He ask God to give him mercy and favour in the sight of his master.

And tonight the adventure will continue, as the hand of God moves to restore His people and His chosen land.

Nehemiah 4:13 “and so I set people to guard the walls at the lowest places.”       

 

Oh what a beautiful picture of life and church and pastor-ing.  As leaders and friends we are to be guards in the lowest places of the wall, where people are hurt and vulnerable and weak.  We are to guard and rebuild, not judge and tear down.  How often do we so get it wrong.  God calls us to defend the weak and to strengthen the weak, to bear their burdens as our own.  We often though turn and kill our wounded with our words or our actions, gossip and rejection.  We are to guard the walls where they are at their lowest places.

 

Nehemiah 4:4,9 “But I prayed…  but we kept on praying to our God.”

 

How do we overcome our enemies and win victory? Through prayer.  Prayer makes our hearts strong and our faith grow.  Prayer enables us to press on and press forward and overcome.  Prayer changes things and changes us.  It defends and encourages us.  Without prayer the walls are not rebuilt and the enemies trouble us and we are overcome.  With prayer we overcome and have victory by the power of God.

Nehemiah 3:1   “These were the people who helped rebuild the wall and gates of Jerusalem:  The high priest Eliashib and the other priests rebuilt Sheep Gate and hung the doors.

 

The HIGH PRIEST mucked in and rebuilt the gates and walls.  They joined in and rebuilt.  They didn’t count themselves as above this labour.  They did not count their position as exalted.  Likewise so we must serve and rebuild.  The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was about the whole “body” joining in and doing their section of the wall, each family group did their part.  We as the body of Christ must all join in and do our part.  We all make a difference and all are essential for building the kingdom of God.

 

 

 

Jeremiah 23: 9  “When I think of the prophets I am shocked and I tremble.  Like someone drunk because of the Lord and his sacred word.”

 

God’s words are sacred.  Precious.  Holy.  We should take care to listen and obey them and to take care when “attributing” words to God.  Many call themselves prophets but really are “unfaithful prophets who misuse their power” (v9 continued).  God’s words are sacred, not to be taken for granted or misused.

 

Jeremiah 23:16 “Don’t listen to the lies of those false prophets.  The message they preach is something they imagined and it did not come from me, the Lord Almighty.”

 

 

 

Jeremiah 23:18 “But I, the Lord, tell you that these prophets have never attended a meeting of my council in heaven or heard me speak.”

 

Council in heaven!  We must seek the counsel of God.  Seek his wisdom.  Seek to hear his voice!  Seek his power and his ways.  We must hear from God.  As leaders and prophets and children of God we should listen to God and hear from him.  This is our duty as leaders and our privilege as children to hear from God.  Jesus said that his sheep know his voice.  It is a reality that God speaks.  do we have ears to hear and hearts open to his truth???

 

 

Jeremiah 23:23-24 “I am everywhere – both near and far, in heaven and on earth.  There are no secret places where you can hide from me.”

 

This is our God.  Near. Personal.

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