This week begins a 12-week series in Nehemiah at Redeeming Life Church. We're calling it, "Ordinary Man." Extraordinary Mission. I'm excited about what Nehemiah's story will teach us and how it will motivate our church to join with God on his mission in our area.
Before we knew where God was sending us, I spent many hours driving and walking through neighborhoods. I prayed. I looked and listened. I can't say what I was looking for, but I knew that God would prick my soul the same way he did to Nehemiah. I still remember driving up and down North Temple. Redwood Road. 600 North. 1000 North. I saw a lot of lostness. On 10th, there's a Buddhist temple. On North Temple there are drugs, prostitution, and homelessness. The parks were packed with people in the soccer fields on 6th. But it was when pointed my car north on American beauty and just sort of let go of the wheel. Sure, I was driving, but I was just letting God move me. I can't remember where I turned, maybe it was Rambler or Pinocchio, but I parked the car and got out.
It was a white picket-fence neighborhood. The homes were well tended and there was a family on a walk. It was in that moment that God showed me I really didn't understand Rose Park. I was cut to the core. It felt like mission impossible. What could I possibly do to connect with these hard-working families in these little neighborhoods?
Eventually I moved here. I spend a few months surveying that area. And over time, God started showing me his plan.
Nehemiah spend a great deal of time praying and fasting. He didn't have the answers. He didn't have a plan. But he knew if God was breaking him over this, God had a plan. Nehemiah was an ordinary guy. He wasn't a CEO. He didn't have an MBA or some other leadership degree. There was nothing too special about Nehemiah. . . except that God has strategically placed Nehemiah on the path of an extraordinary mission.
The opening chapter of Nehemiah should move us to ask ourselves, "Is God breaking my heart for something?" And if the answer is yes, the next question should be, "What am I doing about that?" Might God be putting you, and ordinary person, in a strategic place on an extraordinary mission? Could it be that God wants to cut through the surface? Is he showing us what he loves and what breaks him? Is Redeeming Life Church ready to care about what God cares about?
We'll be hearing from God out of the first chapter of Nehemiah this Sunday. I want to encourage you to pick up your Bible and read the chapter. Read it a few times. I know we're all busy people, but let's not be too busy to hear from the Lord. I'd also like to encourage you to connect with a Fellowship Group this week and get your hands dirty in the text. Let's be open to the extraordinary mission God may have in store for us.
See you Sunday at 11!