Friday, September 30, 2011

Rebuilding the Walls

In a matter of a week I heard two messages and had one prophetic word come in to my desk on Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls. I have taught this book before and Nehemiah is one of my favorite leaders, but I did not ever have to go through a "wall rebuilding," experience like what I have had to face recently.

Maybe you were at ground zero after the tragedy, but I was only able to see pictures. What devestation. What destruction. There was so much work to be done. I could not imagine. I wonder if Nehemiah felt the same way about the walls of Jerusalem. The situation caused him to weep for months. He left a secure job and life to go take on this task full time.

There will come a point in time and sometimes multiple times when you will feel like Nehemiah or feel like you are spiritually standing at ground zero. Things you have built have been attacked by the enemy and now they look like they will never live again. You worked hard. You believed. You pressed and now it looks like there is just shambles and ruins left. This is where leadership is tested. This is where the rubber meets the road. Leaders arise in times of crisis. The true leaders show up when crisis hit.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) It can be done.
-Your first thought is, "Wow, do I have the energy and time to do this. This looks like impossible." It can be done. It will be hard. It will be a process. But it is has to be done and it can be done- by you.
2) With God's help it can be done in record time.
Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in a record 52 days. This should have taken a few years. When you submit this rebuilding to God, He will come along side of you and help you do it in record time. What takes years for man can takes just days with God. Lay this rebuilding project down to Him.
3) It will energize people and unite them.
We usually think that people will be burned out and not have the energy to go through with this. Nehemiah united and organized the people at different stations. There are people waiting to step up during this time. They were hidden before, but will be heroes now. The people were full of strength and fought together.
4) Have a vision of what the rebuilt "wall" will look like.
You have to stand in the midst of your devestation, no matter how big or small, and have a vision of what it could be again. You have to let God be the Master Builder. Ask Him for fresh vision of what it could be and what He sees it as.
Nehemiah did not imagine this. His vision was built upon the prophet's writings on the restoration of the wall and temple. He knew this was God's heart and desire. It was not Nehemiah's plan, but God's plan. Be assured that God wants the walls of your marriage, ministry and life rebuilt. It is His plan and desire.

It can be done. It will be done and it will be done in record time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Developing People = Messy

I have been reading through the Bible in the One Year Bible Plan on the YouVersion App (plug for them). I am in Leviticus and to be honest I was not thrilled about this when this book came up. No powerful miracle stories. No great preaching material. No....well not very interesting except for brushing up on Jewish history and traditions.

I was reading Leviticus chapter 14 and I felt the Lord speak to me. The priest had to sacrifice animals for people's sin. It was messy. This was all done so they could be presented unto God as pure. This was before the time of Christ, so the priest was their only hope. He had a very, very messy job. If they had a skin disease- he had to sacrifice an animal. I am not sure I would have signed up to be a priest in that day and time. I am not about blood and guts. My wife is a Physician Assistant. She loves that stuff. I get queasy.

I felt God impress upon me that this is what developing people is like. It is messy. There is blood and guts (not literally). There are people with issues. There are people constantly messing up and in need of restoration and forgiveness. This is what starting a movement is all about. I am glad that I had "priests" that dealt with my issues by sacrifice. They sacrificed time and energy to make sure that I could be all I could be before God.

As a leader who is starting a movement, keep that in mind today. It is messy. If you don't like messes and want everything to be neat; find something else to do.

Your homework is to read Leviticus 14 now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Much Better

Everyone who is in ministry will tell you about this principle: "At some point in time you will have a death and ressurrection experience in your ministry (maybe even multiple times)."

I have had this happen to me before as well. It can be comparable to Abraham offering his son Isaac up at the LORD's command. This process can feel like the worst pain ever at the time, but afterwards there is growth and perspective that comes from it.
Abraham was given a dream by God. He did not ask for his assignment. He did not ask for a son or for his son to be the one where the Covenant promise would come through. He was merely minding his own business and God interrupted his life. He was given a dream whereby God allowed it do go through a process of death. Abraham carried his son onto the altar and was ready to whatever God was asking.

Many of us have a hard time with that. The reason is that we live with expectations. We have formulated certain expectations of a dream's outcome should look like. These expectations are what makes this ordained death process look so bad. God ordained that Abraham would have to offer the dream up.

Take the life of Jesus Christ for example. His disciples had an expectation that their calling to follow Messiah would result in governmental rule and reign. Their earthly expectation of their dream literally died. When Christ went to the cross, all of their dreams and desires went there too.
I wonder how they felt? I wonder the disappointment. I wonder the embarrassment they felt from family and friends. I wonder what it felt like the first day back to their old jobs.

The crazy thing is that the dream wasn't dead. God had a much better plan. They did not even recognize Jesus when he rose from the dead. It was like nothing they had expected and was MUCH better. Trust God even when it looks like death may be occurring because it is. Your dream will die so His can live. Beware.... you may not recognize it when it does rise again.