Christine Caine - Can't Stop, Won't Stop - Part 1
Sometimes it feels like the world is going crazy, from social media posts to news reports. It doesn't take too long to realize that, we're living in an age of turbulent times. But we don't have to be negatively impacted by the world around us, living in fear and hopelessness. Instead, we can impact it through the power and hope of Jesus Christ. I'm Christine Caine, and I have a personal mission to Equip and Empower people like you, to connect with your God given purpose and potential. I'm so glad that you're joining us today. Are you ready? Let's dive right in.
Hey, I am so glad that you're with me today. I'm so fired up, about the word today, I want to thank you for joining us on the other side of that screen, you know, it's not an accident, that you've tuned into this program today. I know that God has a word for you, and it's going to literally, transform your life. You know, we are living in turbulent times, there's no doubt about it. There is so much chaos wherever you look, there is economic chaos and political chaos. And, there is such unprecedented crime and war and terror and, it seems like you can't look through your newsfeed without just another bomb going off, or somewhere else there's been a major, major earthquake, or hurricane or tsunami, it's like non stop. So at a time of incredible chaos we the church have an opportunity to rise up in this hour, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to a lost and broken world. To be salt and light in that world.
It's amazing to me how many people run from trouble, instead of running into the midst of the darkness and shining the light of Christ. Over the next few weeks, we're going to look at the life of an amazing character in the Bible, his name is, Nehemiah. And he was living in a time where the walls of Jerusalem, had been broken down. The people were exiled, and God spoke to his heart, and he wept for his land and his people. And he wanted to do good for his people, and so he rebuilt the walls, around this city. And what I want for us, is that we would be a people that whether we're in our universities, our high schools, our homes, our communities, our workplaces, that we would be a people that would proactively go into broken places and to see people's lives restored.
You know, people are looking for a word of hope. People are looking for a word of purpose. People want to know that there is something, more than just what they see around them going on. And you and i, as followers of Jesus have the opportunity, to help to rebuild the broken walls of people's lives. And I think it's a sacred privilege that God has given us, he doesn't want us to run from the chaos in our world. He wants us to bring the life of Christ and peace, into the midst of that world. You know, let me just give you a bit of backstory before we read from Nehemiah chapter one. And the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, are one book in the Hebrew Bible, they're one book together, and most people think that, Ezra wrote the book of Nehemiah.
Now, basically, Israel had rebelled against God during the times that the kings and God judged them, and they were exiled into Babylon. So things were not looking good, they're away from the home, they were exiles in a very debaucherous empire, in the Babylonian empire. And so what happened was, God still remained faithful to them. And God has a way of doing that. Sometimes our own decisions take us to a place that seems to be so far away from God. But I want you to know, no matter where you've been, no matter what you've done, your God is faithful to you. You have not run too far from the presence of God. You're not in a pit that is so deep that God cannot pull you out of that place. Even when we are unfaithful, our God is incredibly faithful. And God remained faithful to his people.
And basically, God started to bring his people back. And Zerubbabel is the dude that rebuilt the temple. And then Ezra reestablished the walls of, yeah reestablished the law, I'm sorry, the Word of God. And then Nehemiah, was to re establish the walls around Jerusalem. So God had a reestablishing plan. God brought his people back, and he put some order and structure around them again. So it's in that context that we pick up Nehemiah chapter one. The Bible says the words of Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah. Now, it happened in the month of Chislev, in the 20th year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah and I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped. Who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, the remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble, and shame. Scripture goes on and says, the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.
Now the city gates and the walls to be down at this time in history, if your city walls were fragmented, that meant you were being open to being plundered, you were open to being destroyed, you needed a strong gate, to protect you from the enemy. As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days. That's very touching to me. That Nehemiah's response, when he heard of the destruction that had befallen his city, he wasn't rejoicing. He sat down and he wept for days. I wonder how we feel when we read the paper, or when we hear the news, or when we hear of great tragedy anywhere around the world. Are we the kind of people that sit down and mourn for our cities, and mourn for this world? You see, we're not Christians that believe, God is just going to take us out of this world and we have no responsibility. God has called us to bring shalom, to bring peace, to bring beauty, and to bring joy and goodwill to this world.
You know, we pray the prayer, let it be here on earth, as it is in heaven. For too long, Christians have been kind of like, I'm going to exit, I just want to get saved, I just want my life saved, and then I want a space shuttle straight to heaven. I want to avoid everything here on earth, I don't want to contend with all of the chaos and the politics and the law and the science, and all of the, problems and the crime and the violence and we kind of just sit down and it's just us four and no more and we're just waiting for the rapture. And somehow we think, I don't know, we're going to go to heaven and then play harps, on clouds for the rest of our lives.
And it's no wonder people don't want to know the Lord, it's like, who wants to do that? Not even me. I think we don't even understand that heaven is a place of great industry, of great beauty, and there is we were created to be fruitful, we were created to produce. But the reason we don't get saved, and then instantly, shot into heaven, is because God has something for us to do here on earth. And it is our job, to bring heaven to earth, to bring restoration to broken places, to bring restoration to broken cities and broken lives. We do that we have our A21 campaign, helping to abolish slavery everywhere. We have 14 offices in 12 countries around the world, and some of those countries are so ravaged, by corruption, and crime, and violence, and they're so very, very dangerous. But the truth is, God has called us not to run from the darkness but to go to the darkness, and to establish the light and the life of Jesus Christ.
And Nehemiah, he began to weep. And the Bible says I continued fasting and praying, before the God of heaven. I always wonder when I see that word "fasting", whether maybe the translators dropped an "E" out of it, maybe it was FeASTING, but it's not in there, you know, it says, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, oh Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments. Let your ear be attentive, and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant, that I now pray, before you day and night for the people of Israel, your servants confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you.
It's interesting, he was obviously a man of prayer, praying day and night before God, because he knew that prayer changes things. I think if many of us believed that prayer really changed things, we would pray a whole lot more. We prefer to worry, before we pray. We prefer to ring our friend, before we pray. We prefer to text our friends, before we pray. We go into a spiral of a pit of depression and defeat and failure and negativity, when instead of wasting those emotions, you're going to put your emotions somewhere. Instead of wasting those emotions, why don't you go to God in prayer, where you can come out of that place with a sense of faith, with a sense of hope, with a sense of triumph, rather than a sense of defeat.
He says, even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, if you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though you're outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I've chosen to make my name dwell there. They are your servants and your people whom you have redeemed, by your great power and by your strong hand. Oh, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants, who delight to fear your name, and give success, to your servant today and grant him mercy, in the sight of this man. Now, I was cupbearer to the king.
So a lot of scripture, more than some of you have read all year. I've just caught you up on your Bible reading plan, for the year, you're like, awesome, I'm back up to date on my one year Bible, that's fantastic. But the deal is that, we see that, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king, in case you don't know what that is. That is that, before the king ate or drank anything, Nehemiah would taste it first. So if there was poison in it, he would be the one that would die. That's an interesting job profile. You're playing Russian roulette every single day. But that meant you had very close proximity, to the king. And what I love about this is that, Nehemiah understood, that each one of us, is positioned for purpose. I don't know where you are, what your vocation is. But I'm here to tell you today that wherever you are, it's not by accident, you are positioned for purpose. That God has sent you, God has put you there on purpose and for a purpose.
Some of us think, our situation is constrained. That you're in a place where you feel like, you're in captivity, what can God do? God took, a Jewish man born in captivity, and a cupbearer, who was by trade an engineer, and he said, I'm going to use you right where you are, in a powerful way, that's going to see an entire people, restored, and the walls around Jerusalem, restored and rebuilt. I wonder what God wants to rebuild through your life. I wonder what it is that God wants to do in and through you. And so, we must understand not only that we're positioned for purpose, we are also, created to care. He says, I sat down, I heard these words and wept and mourned for two days. And I continued to fast and pray before the Lord of heaven.
You know, Nehemiah was not indifferent to the needs in his land. He was not unfeeling, to the pain of his people. You see, we need to be a compassionate people, that feel the pain of a lost and a broken world around us. A people that care about the welfare of our cities, what is going on. God chooses the times and places that he puts us in. People say to me, Christine, why are you involved in a21? Because I care about people. Because the fact is, I was born in a country, where there was a rule of law, and there was a proper adoption system. But if I was born in some of the countries where I rescue the kids from, I could have been one of those kids. That's just one degree of separation. I couldn't help where I was born. But the fact is to who much is given much is required. And because God gave me an opportunity, it is not just for self indulgence, but it's so that we could open up our arms wide and help a lost in a broken world. He sat down and wept.
I need you to ask yourself, when was the last time you wept about the condition of the world? Not complained about it, not blogged about it, not tweeted about it, but wept before the Lord about the condition of our world. If we as Christians were far more compassionate, and far more merciful, I think the love of God would emanate from us, into a lost and a broken world in a very, very powerful way. There is so much division in our world today. There is so much terror in our world today. There's so many Twitter wars, and people venting and being angry, and you and I have the chance to help rebuild, the broken walls of cities around people's lives. There's a generation that is looking, for love in a world of hate. They're looking for truth, in an age of relativity. They're looking for something to cling to, when everything is falling apart, this is the greatest hour, for the church. This is our hour to rise up, and bring hope and answers and life.
You don't have to fear this world, you don't have to run from this world. You can allow Jesus to do a deep work in you, because he wants to do a great work through you. You are God's plan a for this world. That's a bit scary, isn't it? You and I are God's plan a, there is no plan b. God has chosen broken people to reach broken people. And it's his glory that works through us, to reach a lost and a broken world. Our hearts have been made by God, to love God and our neighbor. In Matthew 22:37-40 it says that, we're to love the Lord your God, with what? All your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and the second commandment is just like the first scripture says that, we are to love our neighbor, as we love ourselves.
Now, here's the issue. A lot of us do love our neighbor, like we love ourselves. We just don't like ourselves. And so the truth is, if you don't like yourself, you're going to love your neighbor the same way. If you're full of insecurity, anger, bitterness, rejection, hurt, lust, greed, envy, you will love your neighbors as you love yourself, 'cause what's in you is going to come out of you. So that's why we ask our father to sanctify us through and through, so that we can become more like him, so he can do more of his work through us. We will love our neighbor, as we love ourselves. My question is how do you love yourself? You are of no use to a broken world, if you don't care about yourself. Because you'll love other people to the degree, that you love yourself.
And so it goes on and, the fact is that we as Christians, we need to stop blaming, we need to stop judging, we need to stop condemning, lost and broken people and we need to start loving, and reaching out and building bridges of restoration, building bridges of reconciliation, building bridges of love, instead of complaining about that person that bugs you at work, how about you build a bridge to them. And you take the earnestness that, I'm going to reach out in love. Do you know how much it bugs people when they're trying to be mean to you and you love them? It's awesome. It's awesome. It's the best feeling, you send them a gift, you do something kind, you do something nice. And you just make up your mind ahead of time, you are just not going to win. You're not... I have honestly flat out just worn people out, 'cause I just keep turning up and be like, you know, those little clowns you punch and get up, get up, just resilience.
Christians having resilience and tenacity, full of love and full of grace, can make such a difference because Nehemiah was about to walk into a very dark situation, but, his heart had been so moved, that he couldn't stay where he was. God had placed such a burden on Nehemiah's heart, I know what that is like. Because that's where everything started from in my life. I was standing at the baggage claim in Thessaloniki airport in Greece. And I saw all of these posters of these missing women and children. And, I was so disturbed. For weeks, I would wake up at night, and I would be wondering, what has happened to these women? What's happening to these children? They're being raped, they're being taken, they've been sold for sex or sold into forced labor, and I couldn't sleep at night. And when it just didn't stop, I knew I had to do something about it. What is it in you that keeps you up? What is it in you that you see and you just can't forget?
I remember when we started Propel. I couldn't get away from the fact that, I wanted to see pipelines develop for women in leadership, and women in ministry, and women in the marketplace. And, I would go to conference after conference and there would be lines of women waiting to talk to me, feeling like they had so many gifts and talents and saying, you know, what can I do? And there's no place to serve, there's no place to be able to use my gift and talent, why would God have created me with all of these desires, and then not be able to use them and that burdened me, that burdened me. And so out of that became Propel and a desire to help activate women into their passion, and their purpose and their potential. But it came out of a burden, just like Nehemiah had. There's a lot to be said for, turning off some of our electronic devices so that we can get, God's heartbeat for people.
We're to love God and love people. Who knows how many initiatives are waiting to be started. So many of you watching on the other side of the screen, and you've wondered why you've been burdened. You read something in the paper and you're like, why does this disturb me? It's God putting that on your heart, and you think, well, I can't do a whole lot, but you can do something. And just because you can't do everything, doesn't mean you can't do one thing. That's all you've got to start, with one thing. You drive past it, the thing that often is your greatest point of frustration, is what God wants to use. He wants to use you to bring healing and restoration to that area. Everything that we do around the world with, Equip and Empower, it was, I would walk it out hearing of so many girls and hear their stories about having been abused and violated and hurt and defeated.
And I would be burdened for them thinking, look I know, that Jesus Christ can set us free. I know that there's healing in Jesus, I know that there's redemption in Jesus. So that burden is what drove me, to write books like, "Undaunted" and "Unstoppable" and "Unashamed" and "Unexpected," because I want to put tools in people's hands and say the same God that did it for me, can do it for you. Sometimes I lie in bed and I go, God, why do I need to give? Why can't I just go to sleep or go to Santorini, until you come back. But when God puts that burden on you, you just can't stop. Why do I come up and, do TV and I've turned up right in your lounge room today?
And you're wondering how I turned up here, you're going I don't even remember, pressing the on switch on the remote control. But God made sure that this would happen in this moment, 'cause he wants you to know how much he loves you, and he has not forgotten you. And he's got a plan and a purpose for your life, and you are what drives me. You are what keep me up at night, making sure that you find out, that there is hope for you in Jesus, there is freedom for you and Jesus, there is redemption for you in Jesus, there is restoration for you in Jesus, there is a life beyond your past in Jesus, your history does not need to define your destiny. Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth, died on a cross and rose again from the dead, so that you and I can have forgiveness for our past, a brand new life when? Here on earth today, and a hope for the future.
And I want you to know, that burden that God has put on our heart for you, is the thing that keeps us going. And God is going to put a burden on your heart, for somebody else and you just need to care for, one other person and you're going to see change and transformation in people's lives. We weren't created to live as an island unto ourselves, we were created for something bigger than ourselves, and to make a difference on the earth, don't live a small life, when God has called you to live a large life. Let me tell you, one of the greatest deliverances I've received, being healed from a past of abuse and shame and rejection and brokenness is that finally, I have got myself off my mind. When I was a victim and when I was broken, all I ever thought about was my pain, my hurt, all the injustice that was done to me. But the good news is, because I allowed Jesus Christ into those broken places. He rebuilt the walls in my life, and now by his grace were able to rebuild the walls of other people's lives in Jesus' name. In Jesus' name. Amen, yes.