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Greg Laurie - The Rebuilt Life

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Who's ready to study to Book of Nehemiah, raise your hand. Excellent, excellent, grab your bibles and turn to, quickly, to Nehemiah chapter one. Nehemiah chapter one, it might not be a book that you're all that familiar with, it's page 475 in my bible. But that's not usually the best way to find something because you probably have a different bible than I have. But Nehemiah chapter one. And the title of my message is the Rebuilt Life. I wanna remind you that I always encourage you to read ahead, so for next time, read Nehemiah one and Nehemiah two. Just read through the whole book, that'd be the best thing, but at the very least read the first two chapters. And don't forget when we launch virtue and valor and V2, we're also going through the Book of Nehemiah, so this is gonna be a great time of bible study for us together.

You know as you look at America today, I don't know when we've ever been more divided. We're really divided along racial lines, racial tensions seem to be at an all time high. We're divided along political lines, well we've always had political divisions but I can't think of a time where we're more divided than we are in this particular moment. We're divided along ideological lines. Then we see the breakdown and redefinition of the family and honestly that is at the root of a lot of our problems in America today, the increasing crime, the increase of drug use, the increase of so many problems we're facing can be traced directly back to the breakdown of the family. Then we have violence in the streets and we have threats to our personal and national security and the worst crisis in America today, fidget spinners. No I'm kidding, but what is the deal with fidget spinners? How many of you have a fidget spinner? Ma'am you're an adult, why? Really I don't know. These things are some weird obsession, fidget spinners. But that was all a joke, that part there.

But you know, what are we gonna do to turn our nation around? Can we turn our nation around? I don't know when we've had more hurricanes either. Been a horrible hurricane season all around the country, in Texas, in Florida, and now Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's been hit so bad, they say it will be months before they even get their power going again. And you just look at the complete devastation of these homes, there was a home and now it's gone. Sometimes there's a little bit of a foundation left but devastation. So, how do you rebuild these cities? Well you do it one house at a time or one brick at a time, if you will.

Well that's really the premise before, it's in the Book of Nehemiah, it's about the rebuilding of a city, the rebuilding of a wall. But we could very easily draw a parallel to our own life and I ask you today, what state is your spiritual house in? Is it in good shape or is it in a process of decay? Is it in decline, is it falling apart? Well we're gonna see a lot of parallels here between our lives and the story of Nehemiah. This is the story of one man who took action and made a difference, his name was Nehemiah and he literally rebuilt a nation. There's so much we can learn together in this book and we will learn together. We're gonna learn how to pray when there seems to be no human solution to our problems. Are you facing a problem like that right now? There's no human solution. We're gonna learn what Nehemiah did when he was in the same situation.

We're gonna learn how to deal with challenges spiritually, as well as practically. You know sometimes when you only wanna have a spiritual solution, IE pray, and we don't do anything. Sometimes we wanna do something but we don't pray. We'll learn how the two go hand in hand, we'll learn how to plan our work and work our plan and at the same time, trust God. And really the Book of Nehemiah is in many ways a book about leadership. So we're gonna learn how to boost morale when it's failing, how to build people up and get them on your team. Maybe you're a leader of your workspace, maybe you're the boss man or the boss woman or maybe you're a foreman on a work site or maybe you're the teacher in the classroom or you're the person in charge in some way, shape, or form. But even if you're lower down on the ladder, you'll probably be a leader of some kind one day and it seems like everyone leads someone. So there's lessons on leadership here as well.

We'll also learn together how to respond to personal attacks and react when lies are told about you. Have you ever had lies told about you? Have you ever been attacked unjustly? Nehemiah faced that, we'll learn how to react. But first we have to sort of lay a little foundation here with some history of the nation of Israel. Where they were at at this particular moment in time. Now of course, Israel was established by God. They were and are God's chosen people. God ruled them through the various judges over time but Israel wanted a king and he granted their request and gave them a king after their own heart and his name was King Saul. He was the people's choice and he wasn't a very good king. He started off well but he went off the rails and just, his life was a disaster. So God picked someone himself, he was David the shepard boy, who was described after the men after God's own heart. And under the reign of David, Israel, well they were in their glory days.

Around the circumference of the city, they built protective walls. There was around 10 acres of strategic land surrounded by steep hills and these walls and for 40 years, Israel thrived, Jerusalem thrived. But David was getting old and he knew his day was coming to an end, so he passed it on to his son Solomon and said, Solomon, my son, know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart. And Solomon started off so well. Known for his great wisdom, people came from around the world to sit at his feet, including the Queen of Sheba. Who said of him, that half has not been told. But then Solomon began to compromise and he started to get a bunch of wives, lots and lots of wives. And then some concubines as well, if you don't know what those are, ask Pastor Paul afterwards, he'll explain concubines.

And he was compromising and many of these were pagan women and it resulted in trouble coming right there into the throne. But soon Solomon died and then Israel split right in two. And the northern tribes were ruled by Jeroboam and the southern tribes were ruled by Rehoboam. And both tribes turned to idols and false gods. The northern tribe fell first and they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. The people of the northern kingdom were absorbed into the various cultures of the world but the southern kingdom fell later and they were deported by the Babylonians. So because they had this penchant for idolatry, God says, you want idols? Hey I'll give you more idols than you can shake a stick at. Welcome to idol central, Babylon. And there's where they lived as captives for 70 long years, and that's when the Book of Daniel was written.

Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon. Remember one of his advisors was Daniel. And God humbled the great Nebuchadnezzar. And he turned to God, but he didn't successfully pass his legacy on because his grandson Belshazzar went out of his way to mock the God that his grandfather believed in. You'll remember the story of Belshazzar drinking out of the vessels that were set aside for the worship of God and mocking the Lord and then he saw a hand writing on the wall. And God said, you've been weighed in the balances and you've been found lacking. Because right outside of his kingdom was Cyrus and the Medo-Persian forces who were ready to come in and conquer Babylon. So now Cyrus is the king. And he gives a decree that the Jews can go back to Jerusalem. So in approximately 536 BC, the first wave of Jews returned to Judah under Jerusalem.

Now I know what some of you are thinking, you already picked up your fidget spinner or you're looking at your phone. You've checked out mentally. Greg this is so boring, I don't need a history lesson. Actually you do because listen to this, history is his story. So we need to learn from history. And so this is setting the stage for what we're about to read, we need to have context as we look at the Book of Nehemiah together. So here are the Jews now, returning to Jerusalem. Though they're opposed by the Samaritans, they succeed in rebuilding the temple and a number of years later, around 458 BC, a second wave of Jewish people return under the direction of Ezra. Ezra was a priest, he was a spiritual leader. And upon arriving, the children of Israel were in a state of spiritual decline. The problem was there was inner marriage with the pagan tribes, inner marriage.

By the way, God is not against interracial marriage, he's against interfaith marriage, okay? So it's not an issue. And anyone who makes an issue of interracial marriage doesn't know what they're talking about. The big thing for God is that we find people that share the same faith that we share. Because I'll tell you what, marriage is hard enough without adding the element of a nonbeliever to it. This is why the Bible says don't be unequally yoked together with nonbelievers, for what fellowship does light have with darkness? And you might say, well I'm gonna marry a non-Christian guy and I'm gonna lead him to Christ. Hey I'll concede, that does occasionally happen, but occasionally. Far more often what happens is instead of the believer pulling the nonbeliever up, the nonbeliever pulls the believer down and that's why the Bible warns against it.

And that's what happened to Israel. They're inner marrying with all these pagan tribes and so they're totally compromised and it's just a big mess. So Ezra calls these people out to repent and they did. And then the Jewish temple was rebuilt but the walls of the city were in shambles. So the temple's rebuilt but the walls are still in shambles. That's sort of like they started the job but they didn't finish it, kind of like the way I clean things, right? My wife, she's very efficient as a cleaner. You know, she'll make food for me to eat and she's cleaning the dish before I finished eating. I have to climb partially into the dishwasher to finish it and get sprayed in my face, things like that. She's always cleaning, cleaning, efficient, cleaning.

I let messes store up. The other day I was looking at my office, it just looks like a bomb went off in there. You know, books stacked on books and papers and all these things. And so I said, I'm gonna get it right today. And so I got it all sorted out but I just left like two or three little piles. I said, I'll get to those later. You know what happened, right? Now those piles are big piles and it looks as bad as it looked before and I have to start all over again. That's what Israel looked like, that's what Jerusalem looked like. They got some things done but they didn't get all the things done. So enter Nehemiah, he's the man that God is going to use. He's not a priest like Ezra, he's what you would call a layman. I don't like the term layman, myself. It's sort of a term that's used to describe someone who is not, quote, in ministry, end quote.

You know I think sometimes we might think well pastors or missionaries or people that work for churches, they're in ministry but actually you know, I flip burgers or I work in the corporate world or I'm in construction or I'm in education, so I'm not in ministry. Au contraire, which is French for snails with garlic, no that's escargot. No, every Christian is in ministry in a sense because ministry is simply service. Where we're saying God you put me where I am for a reason and I am available to serve you and I want my life to bring glory to you. So God didn't pick another priest to finish the job, he picked a different kind of guy who is part of what we might think of today as the presidential cabinet, he picked Nehemiah. Who was the right man in the right place at the right time. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who was the leader of the Medo-Persians.

This would be like being maybe the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States. You control access to the Oval Office. So if you wanna see the president, you go through the Chief of Staff. If you wanted to see King Artaxerxes, you went through Nehemiah. This had to be a man that the king could trust. Actually it had to be a man that the king liked because he spent a lot of time with him because whenever food was served to the king, Nehemiah ate it first. And basically if Nehemiah died, the king would not eat that food and he would need a cupbearer, a new one, rather. And he would drink of the cup before the king would drink of it. But in time he became the confidant of the king, he became the counselor to the king. In many ways, he was the second most powerful man in all of the nation at this point. So a very successful job and a super cushy one at that and you wouldn't want to jeopardize it. But despite this luxurious life, Nehemiah was concerned about others, that's where his heart was. In a perfect world, he didn't want to be in the palace, he wanted to be in the temple. In other words, he had the finest this world had to offer but he wanted to be with God and with God's people and he cared about them.

Is that how you feel during the week? You know maybe at work or school or whatever, you say, I can't wait til Sunday. We're gonna worship the Lord, we're gonna get into the word of God, you look forward to it. Like the psalmist who said, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord. Is that how you felt when you came to church today? Are you glad to be in the house of the Lord right now? If so, yeah, that's good. Listen to this, when you're living a godly life, you will want to be with godly people, very simple. When you're living a godly life, you'll want to be with godly people. Let me turn it around, if you're not living as godly of a life as you want to, you will not want to be with godly people. So basically Nehemiah's saying, yeah this is nice living here in the place next to the king, but I care about God's people. You know sometimes people will say things like, well I love Jesus, I just can't stand the church. That's like the stupidest thing ever, by the way. Because if you love Jesus, you will love his people. And don't say you love Jesus if you don't love his people.

First John 4:20 says, "If a person says I love God but hates his brother, he's a liar. If a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, how can he love God, whom he has not seen"? Nehemiah loved God and he loved his people, his fellow Jews. So he asks about them. So we're in Nehemiah chapter one, starting at verse one. And by the way I'm reading from the New Living Translation. "In late autumn, in the month of Kislev". You know that month, right? Kislev? That would be around November to December on our calendar. "In the 20th year of King Artaxerxes' reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me, 'Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah are in great trouble and disgrace, the wall of Jerusalem has been torn down and the gates have been destroyed by fire.'" So we'll stop there.

So Nehemiah was deeply moved and touched by this. He thought, I'm in this position I'm in for a reason. He decides he's gonna bet the farm and go for broke and leverage his position of influence and go to King Artaxerxes and try to fund a building program to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. He realized he was where he was because God wanted him there. Have you ever stopped and thought about the fact that you're exactly where you're supposed to be right now? I mean right here, right now in church, yes, wherever you are, this is where you should be. But it's also true of the neighborhood you're in. Or the workspace you're in or the campus you're on or wherever you might be. You might say oh man, if I could just change my circumstances. Did it ever occur to you that you are where you're supposed to be?

Nehemiah realized this, hey God put me here, and I'm gonna do something with this position he's given to me. But first he was gonna pray. It's always best to pray first, then come up with a plan. A lot of times we come up with a plan and go out to enact that plan and ask God to bless us. Lord bless the plan we came up with, it has nothing to do with you. It maybe even violates some scriptural principles, just bless, Lord. No, no, get the plan from God, base it on biblical principles, and then pray. And that's what Nehemiah does. In Nehemiah one, drop down to verse seven. "When I heard this, I sat down and I wept. In fact, for days I mourned and fasted and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said, 'Oh Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer. Look down now and see me praying day and night for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned. We've sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations you gave us through your servant Moses". We'll stop there.

Now we know that God answered Nehemiah's prayer, why? Because first he wept, have you ever wept over anything? Have you ever wept over the torn down walls in another person's life? Have you ever wept over your own spiritual condition? Have you ever wept over the condition of our country or a loved one that has turned their back on God? Or over your children or your grandchildren? Have you ever felt sorrow for your own spiritual condition? The prophet Isaiah was in God's presence and he writes about it in Isaiah six. He says, I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and his glory filled the temple and the angles cried, holy, holy, holy. And I said, Isaiah speaking, woe is me, I'm undone, I'm a man of unclean lips. Loose paraphrase, oh man, I'm like a loser. And I gotta get control of the things I say. God is so great and I'm so sinful. So there was that sorrow over his condition and that is what Nehemiah is experiencing right now.

Now here are some principles on how to pray from Nehemiah. Principle number one, if you're taking notes. Because God entered this prayer. If you want your prayers answered, pray Nehemiah's way. Principle number one, he acknowledged the greatness of God. He acknowledged the greatness of God. Look at verse five again. "Oh Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and keep his commands". Oh great and awesome God, I love that. You know the word awesome is still very popular, isn't it? That's just awesome, that was an awesome burger, wasn't it? Oh that was an awesome movie, oh you look awesome today. We throw the word around a lot. You want to get real technical? Only God is completely awesome. And that's what he says, you're awesome, Lord. What does awesome mean? It means you're awe inspiring, I'm speechless, Lord. And consider this, when you see God in his greatness, you will see your problems in their relative smallness. I'm not diminishing your problems, because you might be here today with a big problem. A big challenge, something that's kinda scary, even. But your God's bigger, your God's way bigger than your problem. So that's something that you should always remind yourself of.

So when you approach God, oh Lord, you're the almighty God, you're the great God, you're the creator God, you're the sovereign God, why do I say that? I'm just getting things into perspective before I even start. And is this not what Jesus taught us in what we call the Lord's prayer? The disciples came to him and they didn't say, Lord, teach us a killer prayer. Like a killer rap, we need a killer prayer. The prayer to pray in case of emergency, give us the big one, Lord. No, they said Lord, teach us to pray. Not teach us a prayer, teach us to pray. Jesus said, after this manner, therefore you should pray, or another way of putting it, follow this template or pattern of prayer. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. So that prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, the model for all prayer does not start with my needs. I don't say, our Father who art in heaven, give me this day my daily bread. No, I say my Father who art in heaven, hallowed, would set apart, be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. So I'm contemplating God in his greatness.

Number two, Nehemiah reminded God of his promises. He says in verse five, "the God who keeps his covenant". Did Nehemiah need to jog God's memory? Does God forget stuff? No, he doesn't, you say wait Greg, the Bible says God's speaking your sins and iniquities will I remember no more, so he forgets our sins. Yeah but there's a difference between literally forgetting things and choosing to not remember things. When God says he forgives our sins or forgets them, it doesn't mean he has a lapse of memory, it means I choose not to hold that against you any longer. But he still remembers technical detail, he remembers everything. I forget stuff all the time, I lose my keys, I lose my wallet, I lost my phone the other day. I looked for it like all day, where's my phone? Where's my phone? I couldn't find it, and finally I found it with my wife. My wife had taken my phone, so you know, there it was. She goes sorry, I had it the whole time. You know, after she had said to me, why can't you keep track of your phone, Greg? You're always losing it, she had the phone, and I had left it somewhere.

But anyway, my point is is that I wanted to publicly say something about, no, that was not nice. I have the greatest wife ever, she's awesome. Okay, but that's actually true. But we lose things, we forget things, God never loses anything, he never forgets anything. He's omniscient, which means he's all knowing. So why would you remind God of something when you pray? Well in a way you're reminding yourself as much as you're reminding God. God you promises to provide us for all of our needs, so we pray thus, you know, so we're praying in light of that. Sort of like when a teacher gives an exam and they find that the students have learned the material, that's very pleasing to the teacher. You know sometimes people will come up to me after I spoke and say, great sermon, pastor. I go, well thank you very much, what in the message spoke to your heart? Well, great sermon pastor, and they just walk. You weren't listening! And I appreciate the gesture but, if you say, you know it's when you made this one point, it really spoke to me, see that brings me joy because okay, something got through, right?

Half the time I'll work on a message for a long time and I'll have the analogy about a dog, and they'll go, I love the dog story, really? Is that all, just the dog story? Is that all you remember? Well it's something, I guess. But I don't have a dog story in this sermon. But the point is is that when someone hears what you say, that's wonderful, and so when we say Lord, I've been reading your promises and I remember your promises and I'm reminding you of your promises, that's a good thing. See, that reminds us that we don't just read through the Bible, we pray through the Bible. Because the Bible is filled with promises. Someone estimated there are 3,000 promises to believers found in the pages of scripture. 3,000, now I don't know if that number's accurate. If you wanna go check this week and get a new number to me, I might use your number for a while.

But then I read the other day that there are 5.8 billion dollars in gift cards that go unclaimed every year. And you know about that, do you have gift cars you've not claimed? How many of you have unclaimed gift cards? I have a few laying around. You know, because they're to places I would never go to, like here's a gift card to a new restaurant called We Suck. I don't know, I'm just, you know. I probably won't use that gift card, thank you. But if I give it to you, you know where it came from, right? How many of you have ever re-gifted a gift card? Be honest, yeah okay, it's alright, I've done it too. Think of all those gift cards unclaimed. All that money not utilized. So here's the Bible, filled with gift cards if you will. Gift cards, it's already paid for, you just need to cash them in. And there's so many promises God has given. And you say, well what are they? Well let me just give you four quick ones. Number one, God says you'll never be alone in life. You'll never be alone in life.

Isaiah 41:10, the Lord says, "Don't be afraid, I'm with you. Don't be dismayed, I'm the Lord, your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I'll uphold you with my righteous right hand". Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you. Number two, God will get you through whatever you're facing. It's a funny thing, when I was writing this point out or typing it out on my keyboard, I got a text from my friend Braden, he's 12 years old. He's fighting cancer, has been fighting it for some time. And he's made great progress. And actually his hair has grown back and he's getting stronger and he's been out on the treadmill running. Such a determined young man. But he had to get another round of chemo and he was nauseated and said, pray that I can keep food down.

And so I prayed for him, but you know instead of just praying for him, I texted him a prayer. Have you ever done that? I just, here's my prayer for you and I typed it out and I sent it to him. Here's my prayer for you and then I just happened to be writing this promise down, so I included this promise, which is Isaiah, excuse me, it's Isaiah 43:2. God says, "When you go through deep waters, I'll be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up, and the flames will not consume you". He wrote me back and said, I'll definitely highlight that verse in my Bible, thank you so much for praying over me. Then he texted me today and said, I'm feeling better, thank you. He's 12 years old. Now you hear that promise, God saying I'll be with you through the rough waters and the fires, you're like yeah, that's nice, until you're getting your next round of chemo. Until you're facing the crisis. Until your world seems to be unraveling and all of a sudden that becomes what it has always been, a great and precious promise from God and all you have to do is claim that promise for yourself because the gift card is paid for, just go redeem it.

Here's another one, God will provide for your needs. Do you have financial needs right now? Here's what God says, Jesus speaking Matthew 6:33. "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added onto you". All these things was a reference to an earlier statement he made when he said don't be like nonbelievers who obsess about what they're gonna wear and what they're gonna drink and what they're gonna eat. Jesus is saying put God first, seek him first, and all these things will be added to you. Malachi 3:10, God says, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse and there'll be enough food in my temple. And if you do, I'll open the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great, you'll want to have room enough to take it in, try it, put it to the test". Have you ever put God to the test in tithing? You say well I don't believe in tithing, well God does and everyone should tithe. That's where we start. And you say, well I don't wanna tithe, well you don't have to tithe. But I'll tell you what God promises if we're faithful in our giving to him, he will provide for us and he even says put me to the test on this one.

That's very interesting because he doesn't say that anywhere else. And also God will forgive us of all of our sins. First John 1:8 says, "If we'll confess our sin, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Okay, that's four promises. There's 2,966 more, so go claim them. And speaking of confession of sin, that's what Nehemiah did next, look at verse seven, "I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, me and my own family, we have sinned, we have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses".

Notice the use of the word we. And my own family and I have sinned. Interesting, as we look at the life of Nehemiah, I don't really read of any notable sin. He had not worshiped false gods like many of his fellow Israelites. But yet he says I have sinned, I'm responsible. You know it's easy to point fingers at everyone else and say they are the problem, it's them. The whole world's against me. I don't know why everyone dislikes me, I don't know why everyone's getting angry at me, they're all so wrong. Did it ever occur to you it's you? It comes as a revelation to some people. Could it be you? Why is everyone upside down with you? Why are so many people hurt by you? Maybe it's you, so why don't you stop pointing the finger? Because have you ever noticed if you point one finger out, three are pointing back at you? So you say, Lord my marriage is in trouble, this lousy husband, he needs to repent. Or Lord, this ungrateful wife doesn't know how hard I work. Or these miserable children. Lord, it's just that they want so many things, just change them, change them, change everyone. Did you ever stop and say Lord, change me?

Heard a story about a little boy who was sent to his room for misbehaving. He told his mom he thought it over and said a prayer. She said very good, you should pray that God will help you not to misbehave. He said, oh I didn't ask God to help me not to misbehave, I asked him to help you put up with me. Sometimes we're always changing for someone else to change. Lord change them, change them. Hold on, what about you changing? Stop complaining about your wife and pray that God will help you to be a more godly husband. Stop complaining about your husband and pray that God will help you to be a more godly wife, and better parents, and on it goes, start with you. It's you and then it's we. Listen folks, we're all in this together, we're all in this together.

Heard about two old ladies who had never flown before. They're afraid of jet planes, so they found a prop plane flying to where they wanted to go. And they took their seat and they were a little nervous and suddenly they heard a loud noise. One of the ladies looked out the window on the other side of the plane and saw the engine had stopped. She turned to her friend and said, what do we do? And her friend said, I wouldn't worry about that, that's their side of the plane. Well, it'll affect you too. So it's very easy to say, well if so-and-so would do this, everything would be better. Okay, so-and-so maybe needs to do that, but you can't control so-and-so, so let's just start with you. We say the nation needs a spiritual awakening, true. We say the church needs a revival, again true. But listen, revival starts with you. Revival is personal, you say what do you mean by revival? I mean restoring to original condition. So I am that man or that woman that God wants me to be.

It's good to pray for someone else to change but pray that God would change you. Prayer does change things but it's also true that prayer changes you. And sometimes prayer changes you and you change things. So sometimes you'll pray, the Lord will say, actually, I want you to do this job. And Nehemiah prayed and God said, good job buddy, because you are going to be the one I'm gonna bring the change through. You're gonna be the man who will make a difference. And so he called out to the Lord, and we need to do the same.

I wonder what state your life is in right now. You know we talk about these walls of Israel. Walls mattered back in those days, they were defensive of course, they kept enemies out. But the walls, and especially the gate of the city, was where commerce was done, it was also where the elders would meet and they would make important decisions. They were a place of authority, so they meant a lot. And in our life we have walls sort of built around us and sometimes those walls start breaking down. You know we compromise a little here, we compromise a little there, and then the weeds start growing in and the problems start developing. Maybe we need to go about rebuilding our own walls personally. Maybe it needs to start with a prayer where we just see ourself as we really are.

Listen, if you're not a Christian, let me tell you your true state before God, you're a sinner in need of a savior. Because there's nothing you can do to earn your way into heaven. But the good news is, is God loved you so much he sent his son Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago on a rescue mission, to die on the cross for your sin and to pay the price for all the wrongs you've done, then to rise again three days later. You need Jesus, and even after you've known the Lord for months and years and then decades, you still need Jesus. You need Jesus every day and every night and every month and every year. From your first year to your last.

And sometimes we start well and we just get off track. And we need to recommit ourself to Christ and we need to rebuild broken down walls and that might be some of you now. So we're gonna close in prayer and I'm going to extend an invitation for some of you to believe in Jesus for the first time. And also an invitation for some of you to recommit your life to him because well the walls in your marriage, the walls in your life, the walls in your testimony, they're broken down and in some cases they're in rubble. But God could help you to rebuild those walls again but it starts with seeing God in his greatness, confessing my sin, and calling out to him. Let's pray:

Father thank you for your word to us today. And I pray for anyone here, anyone watching, wherever they might be, who does not know you yet. Lord, help them to see that what they really long for in life is you, they long for Jesus. I pray that your holy spirit will convict and convince them of their need for you and help them to come to you and believe this very day.

When our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, maybe you would like to ask God to forgive you of your sin. Maybe you would like to ask Jesus Christ to come and live in your heart, so you don't have to ever be alone in life again. Maybe you would like to know with certainty that you will go to heaven when you die. And you want Jesus right now. If you want Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin, if you wanna know you'll go to heaven when you die, if you want him to forgive you of all the wrongs you've done, would you lift your hand up and let me just pray for you right now wherever you are, God bless you, God bless you. Anybody else, just raise your hand up and I'll pray for you. God bless you, I see hands going up everywhere here and I know folks that are watching screens, that your hands are going up too. Just raise your hand, of course I can't see you, but the Lord sees you, just say yes, I need Jesus Christ right now. Raise your hand up wherever you are, you want Jesus today, let me pray for you.

All of you that have raised your hand now, I want you to stand to your feet and I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Stand up, all of you that raised your hand. Even if you did not raise your hand but you want Christ to come into your life, you want him to forgive you of your sins, stand to your feet and we'll pray, get this resolved. You'll have that fresh start in life you've been longing for. Anybody else, stand up, God bless you that are standing. I'll wait another moment, anybody else, just stand up, God bless you. Wherever you are, wherever you're hearing or watching me, stand to your feet and we're gonna pray and you're gonna make that commitment to Jesus. You will not regret doing this. Just stand up, wherever you are, God bless all of you. Okay, you guys that are standing, I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Again, as I pray, all of you standing, pray this prayer out loud, right where you are. Pray this after me:

Lord Jesus. I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you are the savior who died on the cross for my sin. I'm sorry for my sin, I admit my sin, I turn from my sin, forgive me of my sin. I choose to follow you, Lord, from this moment forward, In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

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