back to the future

had a very surreal opportunity today - to speak at emmanuel college for the school of christian ministries. its been over 17 years ago that i left emmanuel and it really doesn't seem that long - guess that's my memory beginning to fog over.

anyway, although i work for our denomination, i've purposed (at least for now), not to "re-preach" a word that God's given to me previously - i always want it to be a fresh word, not left-overs. disclaimer, keeping with the food metaphor, there are some times that i'll use some "ingredients" from a previous message - i.e., a particular point or story - but never the whole message, rehashed.

so today i thought i'd share the reduced fat version (i.e. to the point!) of what i spoke on:

detours, delays & distractions

big idea:
could it be God trying to get your attention when you encounter these

  • In my job, I travel
  • Like to get where I'm going quickly
  • Don't like a detour or delay
  • What can we learn in the process?

  • Some of you heard Steven Furtick say last week at Catalyst, "Between the promise and the payoff is the process."

  • God uses the detours and delays to help us with our Understanding of the Process
  1. You discover who you are in the process -

  • Neh. 1:11-2:5

  • In prayer, Nehemiah discovered his purpose (end of vs.4 & vs. 5)
  • Know who I am NOT - I'm not a plumber/car repairman/handyman/hunter/fisher/gardner

  • Know, Who I am? - Things I love: being a husband, being a great dad, worship, public presentation (teaching, preaching, leading), ideation, privately serving others

  • Nehemiah started ended with "I was a cupbearer" --> becomes a leader and rebuilder in vs. 5

  • Nehemiah was a cupbearer

      • not an illustrious career

      • equivalent to a butler

      • It was one that was:

        • trusted

        • respected

        • close to the king

  1. Relationships are key

  • Scripture says, "Iron sharpens iron"(Prov. 27:17)

  • No "iron" can sharpen itself - it takes another

  • Life happens

  • Life happens in relationship

  • Nehemiah had relational expertise on several levels that we can learn from:

    • As the King's cupbearer, he basically was a part of the inner circle of leadership - that constitutes: diplomacy, tact, wisdom, trust, awareness and leadership

    • As the leader of the people he had to know how to: organize, administrate and encourage the people

    • Chapter 4 where they begin to grumble and he basically tells them to "man up" and get the job done

    • Criticism is a part of leadership and criticism is a part of relationship: How will you respond?

    • I like what Rick Warren says, "When you're small, they'll dismiss you; when you're growing, they'll criticize you; when you're large, they'll resent you"

    • You can't win, dismiss the critics and move on with what God has for you - a tough lesson, but one you have to learn.

  1. In every season of your life, look for fruit

  • In the process of life, we go through seasons

  • Some of the seasons are great, we know God is near

  • Some of the seasons are painful

  • What do you do in the painful seasons of you life: you have two choices?

  • You own the past - leads to self-engulfment (to flow over and enclose); self-seeking; self-serving - focused on self

  • You allow God to own the past - He can use it and you to help others, serve others, see others

    • Jesus said in Jn 12:24-26 - "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

    • Jesus compares our lives to a kernel of wheat that falls to the ground

        • That means I must be willing to get stepped on

        • Dirty

        • Stepped on
        • Unnoticed

        • Obscure


So that the soil of life can fall on me and that I can learn to push through that soil as a seed does so that I can produce fruit


  • Detours...
    • Good because you're still headed toward your destination
    • Along the way, you learn new things
    • Read this recently, Passion is Belief in Motion
    • Can still be full of passion in a detour
  • Delays...
    • When God says, "Pause"
    • Most key Biblical people had a season of 'Wait'
    • Joseph experienced an extended delay...a season of silence
    • Silence does not equal absence - God is still with you
  • Distractions...
    • Have a saying, "Distractions distract"
    • Remove your eyes from the focus
    • God is not in distraction
  • Nehemiah had them
  • 5 times he was asked to "come talk with them" (the critics)
  • His response: I'm busy doing what God wants.
  • Delays & Detours are often a tool that God uses - Nehemiah waited

1 comment:

Unknown said...

process...relationship...sounds like a Rick sermon for sure! =D