Saturday, 14 April 2012

Spring Harvest 2012 - Powerful talk by Steve Chalke on rebuilding the walls in our community

Spring Harvest Evening Talk

Listened to a really powerful talk from Steve Chalke tonight at Spring Harvest (2012)

Nehemiah 1

When we sleep walk through life we end up in a place where we never expected to be.  This is similar to many churches. We all live out some sort of vision where we write the story through what we do every day. we are authors of our own script and are often surprised where we end up.

Nehemiah 1 is a prequel to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 1:1-2 (NIV)
The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, [2] Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

Nehemiah as working as the cup bearer asks about what is happening in Jerusalem. Nehemiah did know what had happened. This is not new news.

This story begins 100 years after the first captives get back to Jerusalem.

The walls were restored 150 years previously.

Nehemiah 1:4 (NIV)
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Although this is not new news it doesn't make it irreverent for Nehemiah.

Why did it matter that the walls of Jerusalem still had not been rebuilt? The walls built community through hope and security. Nehemiah is concerned with something really valuable and important.

Nehemiah hears the story (which he already knows) and weeps.

Nehemiah 1:4 (NIV)
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Ezra 4 - the walls had been started to be rebuilt 75 years ago but they have up.

Prayer is not just about words and liturgy but a true prayer is a longing and aching that burns inside your soul.

The prayers get from his head into his hands and into his feet.

Nehemiah is gripped by this prayer and called into action of a long journey.

Nehemiah 2:1-10 (NIV)
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; [2] so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart."
I was very much afraid, [3] but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire? " [4] The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, [5] and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." [6] Then the king , with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. [7] I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? [8] And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests. [9] So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king's letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. [10] When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.

He went to rebuild the walls. This is about action. He goes back to do this civic plan.  This is a real mixture of the church and secular joining together.

What becomes our vision?

Nehemiah has a vision of imagination, of belief of what he can do.

Which walls need rebuilding?
What vision are we investing in?
Time goes fast!
There is a need for courage.

The vision will always outstrip the resources.

At the end of chapter 1 he doesn't know wether he will succeed or fail.

What was the strategy?

In 52 days the walls were built. We have visions but we have to work together. Individuality is a killer - we have to work together as 'us'.

What about our broken communities?

We get involved NOW.
We begin NOW.

We can easily sleepwalk into a future we have not thought about.

Without a vision we soon perish.

Vision = Frustration

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