This week we continue to look at “engaging with our community”. If you missed last Sunday, we began this new section of our whole church…
Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at “Engaging with God”. We started by giving a basic definition of worship – and that is simply saying ‘Thanks’ to God for who He is and what He’s done. And as we express that thanks, we realize how great our God is and how He is infinitely more He is than anything we could ever imagine. And that causes us to approach God with an attitude of humble submission.
Now a lot of what we’ve talked about so far has been kind of the prep work of engaging with God. Adjusting our perspectives – changing our attitudes. And of course, doing all those things is all part of the process. But today I want to get down to the meat of the issue. I want to talk about actual actions. Day by day, real life engaging with God. Like we talked about at the beginning of this series – becoming interlocked, like a jigsaw puzzle piece with our God.
Because I think that’s really what each of us want. We want to connect with God. We want God to be as real and active in our lives as He was with the heroes of the Bible. We want God to actually make a difference in our lives.
I guess I can’t speak for you, but I’m not content to stay like I am forever. I’ve got too many faults and flaws in my character. I want to engage with the One who created me, so that He can make me into the person He intended me to be, so that I can do the things that He intended for me to do. I want to engage with God.
And unless I’m wrong, I think that’s what most of you want too. So how do we do it? Once we’ve got that attitude of thankfulness and humble submission before God, then what? How do we engage with God on daily, real-life basis?
Well, the answer probably isn’t as complicated as we might think.
When we left Nehemiah last Sunday – he was weeping and mourning and fasting and praying to God because he heard about the terrible state of his countrymen back in Jerusalem. After many years of exile, some of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple, but the city was in ruins, the walls had been torn down and the gates had been burned.
We also talked about our countrymen, right here in our community, living in the ruins so to speak – living lives apart from God. And I trust that God has, and will continue to fill your heart with compassion and concern for the lost in our community, because until we feel the same way God does about our friends and neighbors, (that is with great love and compassion) things aren’t going to change for them. They’re going to stay living in the ruins.
But today as we continue to look at the life of Nehemiah, we’re going to see how he begins to take action. And through that, hopefully we can learn a few principles for us to follow in reaching our community for Christ.
Nehemiah 1:5-11 & 2:1-9
The first thing I want you to notice is the time of year. If you remember from last week, it was late autumn when Nehemiah got the report about the broken walls, but when is it when he talks to the king about going back to Jerusalem? Early spring. What did he do all winter?
This devotional is a rehash of an earlier post, Livin’ on Strained Carrots. That devotional was written for grades 7 thru 12 and this is a re-write for grades 1 thru 6.
Today I want to teach you guys something very important. The thing I want to teach you is pretty easy to do, but there are lots of grown-ups that still don’t know how to do it. In fact, the thing that I’m going to teach you is so important, that if you learn how to do it today, and you start doing it – you will never be the same! Do you want to know what I’m going to teach you? I’m going to teach you how to feed yourself.
Before you tell me that you already know how, I want to play a little game.
Three contestants blindfolded, guess what object they hold. If they are right, they win the object.(Pop, Smarties, and baby food)
Imagine that it’s Christmas time. Christmas day, actually. All of your relatives have arrived and it’s time for the feast. There’s a big turkey (or ham or whatever your family usually eats complete with all the trimmings. Name a few of the things you would have at your Christmas meal…
So there’s all this food just waiting to be eaten, someone asks the blessing on the food and everyone digs in – except you. For you, your mom or your dad opens a jar of baby food and starts feeding you that stuff.
How would you like that? No way! That would be gross. And besides, you’re not a baby anymore! You don’t need your parents to feed you – you can feed yourself!
But you know… you couldn’t always feed yourself, could you? When you were a baby, you had to be fed by your parents. You had no teeth and all you could eat was baby food. But aren’t you glad you grew up and learned how to eat regular food all by yourself?
Today, I want to show you how you can grow up as a Christian and feed yourself spiritually. If you don’t know what that means, that basically means that I want to show you how to be really good friends with God.