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TRUE REPENTANCE
Nehemiah 9-10


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Now that I have multiple children in my home, I am expecting the day when I have to tell one of my boys to apologize to the other. And doesn’t that always work so well? ‘Say you’re sorry.’ ‘I’M SORRY.’ ‘Now, say it like you mean it.’ Mumbling: ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘Uhhh, say it like you really mean it!’ And on and on it goes. It never really works, but we do it anyway. The truth is, just saying that you are sorry does not really mean that you really are sorry. Forced apologies are no apologies at all. They may allow us to move on, but they never really resolve the problem. A true apology comes with a sense of recognition and brokenness over the hurt caused. And it usually leads (at least for a time) to changed behavior.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 June 2016 )
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Nehemiah 8: The Word in Worship Print E-mail

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The worship of God’s people is driven by God’s Word. Take your bulletins and look at the image on the front. We have a trinity symbol with the Word in the middle and the three marks of a disciple surrounding it: worship, work, and witness.  We define a disciple at the bottom: “A disciple exalts God (worships), edifies the saints (works), and evangelizes the lost (witnesses), according to the Word of God. It is our goal as a Church, as a community of believers, to be disciples who make disciples that worship, work, and witness according to the Bible. After all, where would we be without the Word? How could we worship a God that we do not know? How could we serve one another without the truth of God’s Word? And if the Word did not tell us about the Word who became flesh and died on a cross for our sins, then what good news would we have for a lost and dying world? God’s people are desperate for His Word. And the worship of God’s people is driven by the Word.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 June 2016 )
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Nehemiah 6-7: The Faith to Overcome Fear Print E-mail

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Our fears can paralyze us. Think about a time in your life when you were very afraid. How did you respond? How did your body react? What did you feel like doing? A few years ago, my family and I vacationed in Gatlinburg. My mom rented a cabin that was literally located on the side of a mountain. In order to get to it, you had to drive up a steep incline and make a sharp turn into the driveway. The first night that we were there, Glenna and I went out to get some groceries for the week. It was raining and I knew the trip back was going to be a bit interesting. When we got to the bottom of the hill that lead to the cabin, my heart was racing. We started up the incline without any problems, but when we tried to turn into the driveway, my wheels started spinning and we began to slide back down the mountain. I put the car in reverse and backed down the road to build up a running start. When I got to the bottom, I was frozen with fear. It was all I could do to not just park the car somewhere and walk up to the cabin. I had absolutely no desire to attempt the trip again. But we did. I put the car back in drive and gunned it into the driveway this time, tires spinning and all. It was a scary few minutes. And the fear left me paralyzed. Have you ever felt like that? Have your fears ever left you unable to act, unable to continue?

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 May 2016 )
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Nehemiah 5: Funding the Mission Print E-mail

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In September of last year (2015), the president of the International Mission Board (David Platt) sent out an open letter about the current financial situation of the IMB. His letter begins: “Dear SBC Family,By now many of you may have heard that last week, IMB announced a plan to reduce the total number of our personnel (both here and overseas) by 600-800 people over the next six months.” That is 600-800 less missionaries serving in many places where there is little to no gospel witness. He goes on to give the reason for this move: “when we stepped back and looked at IMB finances since 2010, we realized that IMB has spent a combined $210 million more than people have given to us.” The Mission Board has been spending more than they have received to try and keep missionaries on the field. In order to make up for the shortfall, they have sold property, dipped into savings, and taken other steps to cover their spending. But of course, that cannot continue to happen. The truth is, there is not enough money to pay the missionaries that we currently have on the field. Some of that is perhaps due to poor stewardship and unnecessary spending, which I am sure will be considered during this process. But even then, the bottom line is that we are currently asking people who have given their lives to taking the gospel to unreached places to consider early retirement because we cannot afford to pay them. We are simply struggling to fund the mission at this point.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 May 2016 )
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Nehemiah 3-4: Facing Opposition with Faith Print E-mail

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Handling opposition is a challenge we must all face. In particular, the life of the Christian is filled with ‘opportunities’ to respond with faith in the face of opposition. It will come in various forms. It’s the co-worker who thinks you are too concerned with religion to do a good job or be a good friend. It’s the family member who thinks you give way too much time to the church and not nearly enough for family activities and events. Sometimes it is even the ‘Christian’ neighbor who scoffs at your conservative views and calls you unloving and insensitive. We face opposition as a Body of believers as well. Those of differing religions want to convince Christians that they are wrong or that they too are right (pluralism). Others oppose Christians for seeking to win others to Christ. ‘Just live and let live,’ is their slogan. Again, some ‘Christians’ mock those who still believe the Bible is true and right. We could go on, but all of these are opponents that we may face as followers of Jesus. So how do we face them with faith?

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 May 2016 )
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Nehemiah 2: God's Good Favor Print E-mail

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Prayer leads to action. It is not always quick and immediate, but faithful praying will lead to faithful obedience. As we lay our requests before the Lord over months and years, we ready ourselves to act and obey when opportunities arise. This is what happens in the life of Nehemiah. We looked at his prayer in chapter 1 last week and according to verse 1 of chapter 2, Nehemiah has been praying for around four months. He has been asking for success and mercy in the sight of this man (the king) for four months. And finally the day for action comes. And Nehemiah is ready.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 May 2016 )
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