We are headed into the final days before Christmas. I continue to aim my focus toward the majesty and awe of God, instead of the pressure and temptations I perceive. One sermon has helped me in this season, a good old fashion sermon about persevering!
Kris Vallaton of Bethel Church in Redding taught a sermon 11/25/12 called “Rebuilding Your Walls“. If you have a chance, click the link to listen.
My friend Heather said:
I like his overall perspective on being a part of the solution. I’m weary of constantly hearing what’s wrong with our nation, economy, etc… I like his attitude of being a part of the answer and carriers of hope. I’ve always been attracted to hope. And I think we’ve seriously underestimated the power of encouragement, and they are directly related. You can’t encourage if you have no hope.
Kris taught from the book of Nehemiah and pointed out some of the things Nehemiah did.
- In chapter 2 verse 11, it says that Nehemiah inspected the walls at night – in order to solve a problem you have to actually get involved with the problem and know what it is. We tend to be so afraid of pain.
- Jesus said to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice – we need to mourn – we can’t be afraid of pain – in America when people grieve it is our duty to get them to stop – of course we need to help people stuck in grief out – but there are seasons for grief and seasons for comfort.
- We need to understand what the real problem is – when we distance ourselves from pain we create symptomatic cures and they end up becoming problems down the road because we never diagnosed the problem – we don’t understand the ecosystem that is causing the problem because we are afraid of the pain it takes to get involved.
- Nehemiah said the trouble we are in. He includes himself and then goes on to state what God has said. Hope feels, faith sees and love never fails. We are going to succeed because love never fails.
- In 2:18 – Let’s us rebuild the wall – You can’t solve problems for people – you can only join them.
- In 4:1 – Enemies oppose the rebuilding. We need to persevere. Sometimes we think we need a new plan – sometimes it is just a matter of not stopping – how did the widow win? So many people are used to it being so easy – we have lost the sense of workign hard.
- You did get saved by grace – but saved to work – see Eph 2:8 – read verse 9-10 as well! We are his workmanship created to good works
- Whenever we preach grace that takes away personal responsibility you are not teaching grace – perseverance and hard work is what it is about (Shell’s input here – this does not advocate busy works – only doing what God is showing you to do – much of that is already written in the Bible – giving, caring, serving – but don’t fill up with busy works – Only do what God is initiating – but seek that out) – co laboring – not co sleeping! Jesus rested – but did you see his schedule?
- Col 1:29 – for this purpose I labor [to grow weary in toiling – to agonize over and content for] and I strive and agonize what God has given me energy to do – this is our mission! Ground is taken by hard work – you are working from salvation – not for salvation – working from love not to love.
So there is your boost of hope – it is actually a call to keep going – we win!