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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - Enlisting Support for Your Dream

Rick Warren - Enlisting Support for Your Dream

Rick Warren - Enlisting Support for Your Dream
TOPICS: Building a Better Future

Today, we're in part four of our series on the Book of Nehemiah. I want you to take out your teaching notes; "The Outline". If you're watching online, you should pause and download the "Outline Notes" before we continue. Now, during this series each week I've reminded you, that the COVID pandemic is gonna end obviously at some point. And when that ends, God doesn't want you to just resume your old life, your pre-COVID way of living. Instead, God has given you the opportunity to reset your life, to reboot your life in a completely new way. And that's why we're doing this series called Building a Better Future based on the Book of Nehemiah.

Now, so far, we've looked at three principles for building a better future. And in this third message that we had last week, we looked at how to create a personal life plan based on the same seven steps that Nehemiah used to go after the dream that God gave him. And I hope you worked on your life plan this past week but if you don't have a dream, you don't have a life plan for your life, I wanna urge you to go online, watch my previous message in this series and take those steps. Now, after you have a clear vision or a dream of what you feel God has called you to do with your life, the next step, and that's what we're gonna talk about today, is to enlist others who can support your dream.

Now, fortunately, chapter two of Nehemiah's story gives us a very practical model of how to do that. But before we look at Nehemiah, as example of how to enlist other people to support your dream, you need to understand two facts about dreams. First, no dream is built without support. No dream is ever built without support. Just like a building needs support your dream needs support. True success is never one man show. Anything significant that's done in your life, any great dream will require help from others. Kay, my wife, has a message called; It Takes a Team to Fulfill a Dream. And Saddleback Church is able to do amazing things because of about 15,000 people who volunteer every single week to use their talents in some capacity.

Now, why will your dream require support from other people? Why can't you just do it by yourself? Well, there are several reasons. First, you don't know everything you need to know. Number two, you don't have enough time or energy to do everything by yourself. And number three, you don't have every talent that you're gonna need to get your dream done. You see, God intentionally wired us to need each other. So we'd learn how to work together. Now, Nehemiah could have never fulfilled his dream of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem by himself alone. It wouldn't ever happen. In fact, every phase of the dream that God gave Nehemiah would require assistance. Even just traveling back to Jerusalem.

Nehemiah chapter two verses seven to nine says this, "I asked the king to help me by giving me permits for safe travel through the territory's on my journey to Jerusalem. I also asked him to supply timber for building from his royal forest. And the king gave me everything I asked for because God's gracious favor was with me. The king even sent an army, sent army officers and soldiers on horses to escort me"! Now, did you notice that last phrase the king actually added an escort service of officers and soldiers on horses to help Nehemiah get escorted back to Israel. When you pray, and when you ask God for help, God will provide even stuff you didn't think of or even imagined that you would ever need, an escort. Now, no dream is ever built without support.

Second fact about dreams is this. No dream has ever built without opposition. No dream is ever built without opposition. Opportunity and opposition go together. The moment you decide to go after the dream that God gives you, there's always gonna be somebody there to discourage you. The moments you say, let's do this, somebody is gonna jump on and say, let's don't. People are naturally resistant to change. They don't like it even when they're living in ruins. And people resist change for a variety of reasons. But dream busters are literally everywhere. They feel it's their job to bring you down.

So opposition, listen, opposition is built into every opportunity in life. Nehemiah is gonna show us how to handle opposition in detail in a future message of this series. But in this chapter, it introduces us to a couple of the vocal opponents or critics who oppose Nehemiah at literally every step of rebuilding the wall. Now their names are Sanballat, what a name! and Tobiah, Sanballat and Tobiah. I'm not gonna give you the background of these guys today because we're actually gonna study their tactics later in a message on how do you handle opposition. But let me just say this, these two men were local leaders in Jerusalem who were not Jews. They had moved in Jerusalem when the Jews had been deported to Babylon and they hated the Jews. They were prejudice. They took advantage of their suffering and captivity.

And while the Jews were hurting, they were ruling and they had made themselves rich and powerful at the expense of other people's misfortune. So when they heard that Nehemiah was coming back to rebuild the city, guess what? it threatened them. In Nehemiah 2:10 it says, "Now when Sanballat and Tobiah heard that I was coming to assist the welfare of the Jews in Jerusalem, they became very upset and disturbed". Friends, there will always be people who don't want things to change because it will end their unfair advantage. They want people to be kept in slavery. And there will also be people who don't want you to succeed because it'll change things for them. By the way, how did Nehemiah know even before he got to Jerusalem that these guys were going to oppose him? Well, he must have sent scouts ahead in advance to uncover any opposition. Remember last week, we talked about doing your homework, doing your preparation.

Now, because of these two reasons, you're gonna have opposition to any dream you have in life, and you're gonna need help from others, you need this message today. You need to learn how to enlist the support of others for your God-given dream. Fortunately, chapter two of Nehemiah's story beautifully illustrates how to gain support for your dream.

Now, let me give a background for those of you just joining us in this series. Here's the background of the story. During the Great Babylonian Empire thousands of years ago, the nation of Israel was conquered by Babylon which is today called Iraq. Most of the Jews were actually deported from their homeland in Israel and taken as prisoners of war all the way over to Iraq or Babylon, where they lived in exile for 70 years. But then the Persian empire came in and crushed the Babylonian empire. And under their leadership the Jews were allowed to return home. But when they got back to Jerusalem they discovered that their temple, their homes and the entire city had been destroyed. And the protective wall and gates around the city had all been destroyed too so they were defenseless to guys like to Tobiah and Sanballat.

Now Nehemiah, who was a Jew had been promoted to working in the royal court for the Persian king, he gets this dream of rebuilding his hometown. So he prays, and he prepares and he plans. We've looked at that in the last messages. And then he asked the king to give him permission to return home and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. The king goes, okay, lets him go. 'Cause God had worked in his heart and now Nehemiah heads back to Israel. And his next task, what we're gonna look at today, is to convince the defeated and discouraged citizens of Jerusalem to help him with a dream. Now, the story of how Nehemiah succeeded in getting others to help him in his dream is found in Nehemiah chapter two, verses eight to 20. It is one of the great success stories in the Bible, really is. By involving other people, Nehemiah was able to accomplish, listen, in 52 days a project that no one else had succeeded in doing in 90 years. That's a success story.

Now, if you're a business person, you really need to pay attention to this series and this message today. So let's look at the steps that you're gonna need to follow any time you need the cooperation of other people in your life, in your family, in your work, in your school, in your business. All right, let's get right into the points. Here's the first step. Number one, wait for the right timing. Wait for the right timing. Ecclesiastes 8:8 says this, "There's a right time and a right way to do everything". Now, you know that from experience that that's true. You ever seen a good idea killed because it had bad timing? Yeah. Timing can make or break you.

In baseball every pitcher throws the exact same ball five and a quarter ounces, baseball. Every pitcher stands the same distance from home plate, 60 feet, six inches. The difference between a pro pitcher and an amateur is one thing; timing. Timing. The difference in timing is worth millions. Now the best example of understanding timing is actually the ministry of Jesus. If you go and study the life of Christ, you'll find that he often said it's not time yet. He actually told his mother when she came and asked him to do a miracle to turn water into wine, he goes, it's really not my time yet. Nehemiah understood the power of a dream having the right time to share it.

In Nehemiah 2:11, he says this, "When I arrived in Jerusalem..." He's just made this thousand mile journey. "When I arrived in Jerusalem, I stayed quiet for three days". Isn't that interesting? This guy has a huge project, rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Build the wall, restore the gates. He doesn't make a grand entrance. He doesn't arrive on a white horse with trumpets and flags shouting, "I am here to say the day"! He didn't even announce why he was there. He shows up and doesn't say anything for three days. What was he doing those first three days? Resting from the long journey? Yeah, probably. Recovering from the journey across the desert? Pray? Probably. We know he's a man of prayer. Was he watching and observing and listening and learning? No doubt. But I'm guessing that as a smart leader he was also using this delay to build curiosity.

Now, follow me on this. Nehemiah arrives from the Persian with a royal escort, he gets there, but then he says nothing for three days. Imagine the speculation and gossip that would create in the city. By day three probably everybody had heard of Nehemiah. He's using the silence and delay to his advantage. He's creating a hunger so people will listen when he actually shares the dream. Now, you have to choose the right timing and sharing the dream for you. You don't just go out and blurt it out the first time you get a dream from God. And while you're waiting for just the right time to announce your dream, you can do these same things that Nehemiah did. You can reenergize your life fresh. You can get in shape. You can pray. You can look around and observe, and learn, and get the facts. And you can build curiosity. You start with waiting until the right time to announce your dream.

Here's the second thing Nehemiah did. And you're gonna need to do this with your dream. Make sure I've done my homework. Make sure I've done my homework. Before you go public and announce your dream to your family, your friends, your neighbors, your boss, whoever, makes sure you have all the facts and all your information is correct and current. The Bible says it like this and Proverbs 18:13, "It's stupid and shameful to decide before knowing the facts"! You see what you don't want to happen when you're making your pitch or proposal for help, and you're sharing your dream, is you don't want somebody to ask you a question that you can't answer because you didn't get all the facts.

You see it's not good if they say, well, What would you do if this happens? And you have to admit, I don't know, I actually haven't thought about that. You have to have all the facts and figures to back up your dream ready. You gotta do your homework. Proverbs 23:23 on the screen says this, "Get the facts at any price". Now, what happens in the next few verses is Nehemiah's fact-finding mission. Nehemiah secretly led a research party at night. He didn't do this when everybody's watching, at night, to go out and to personally inspect the walls and gates of Jerusalem. He didn't depend on second hand knowledge for his dream. He did his own research. Good leaders do their own research. He learned all they could about what he was getting ready to start his dream before he started. He's gathering information, he's assessing the size of the problem as an eye witness before he says anything. You need to do the same thing with any dream that God gives you.

Nehemiah chapter two verse 12 and 13, Nehemiah says this, "I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on". He evidently had a donkey. And he said, "By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Dragon Well and the Dung Gate, to inspect all the broken-down walls of Jerusalem and the city gates which had been destroyed by fire". Now, during this research step, do your homework. Nehemiah didn't wanna attract attention to what he was doing, so he goes out in the middle of the night. This is his midnight ride. You've heard of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere if you're an American.

Well, Nehemiah has a midnight ride around Jerusalem. Now I'm sure some of you, by the way are dying to ask me, Rick, why was one of the gates of Jerusalem called the Dung Gate? Well, why do you think? Okay, dung happens. All right, Nehemiah verses 14 and 15 goes on. "Then I moved onto the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was so much rubble there wasn't even enough room for my donkey to get through; so I went up the valley by night". It goes outside the wall, examining the wall. "Finally, I turned back and re-entered at the Valley Gate". What's going on here. He is surveying the damage in a war zone. It's like going out and serving the field after a battle. Now this is the unglamorous lonely part of leadership nobody ever hears about. It's when you're studying the situation in the middle of the night, when everybody else is asleep. And when Nehemiah studied the situation, it was bad.

Did you notice that there was so much rubble and ruined piled up that at one point Nehemiah had to dismount, get off his donkey in order to get through a tight spot just by himself. That's how bad the rubble was in Jerusalem. Now, every leader can imagine what Nehemiah's feeling right now. He's going the size of this project and the severity of the problem is sinking in as he surveys the damage around the city. And he's probably thinking as far worse than I thought. And it's a lot more complicated than I ever imagined and I have never built anything in my life, why in the world am I here? But God had put a dream in his heart and he'd come this far in faith and he's not giving up. So he waits for the right time to even start the project and even talked about it. He does his research. He does his homework.

Here's the third thing he does in advance before he announces the goal. Protect the dream from premature death. When God puts a dream in your heart, you need to not just go share it with everybody willy-nilly at anytime anyway. Don't be in a hurry. Let me tell you this from experience. Don't be in a hurry to announce your dream so quickly. You wanna protect your dream. A dreams can be destroyed very quickly. They're fragile when they first spring up. So don't be in a hurry to announce your dream so quickly. Ecclesiastes 3:7 says this. There's a time to be silent and there's a time to speak. Now, you're not ready to announce your dream until your body is rested, the research is invested, the information is digested and the idea has been tested. Okay?

Verse 16 says this, "The local officials did not know where I'd gone or what I was doing, because I had said nothing yet to the people or the priest or the nobles or the officials or anyone else who would be doing the work". What's he doing? He's protecting the dream from premature death. Verse 12 he had said, "I had not told anyone what God had put in my heart to do". Why is he doing this? Why is Nehemiah being so secretive about his survey and about the dream that God has put in his heart? 'Cause he doesn't want the project to be killed even before it got started. You see, the background is there had been 90 years of negativism in Jerusalem. And two previous times somebody else had attempted to rebuild the wall and they failed. He didn't want people going, "Oh, we tried that. We tried it a couple of times and it'll never happen. We've always done it this way. We've always lived this way".

All of the citizens of Jerusalem felt discouraged and defeated and probably even apathetic. They had gotten used to living in rubble. They had gotten used to living in ruins for 90 years. Besides, Nehemiah didn't have all the facts yet that he needed. Let me ask you this question. Is it easier to promote a good idea or kill a good idea? It's kinda obvious. Have you noticed that negative people tend to be more vocal and louder than positive people? And there were certainly far more negative people living in the rubble than there were positive people living in that rubble of Jerusalem. They had become jaded, apathetic to their situation, feeling that it would never change. Some of you may be feeling that right now. COVID has dampened your enthusiasm. And you're thinking, my situation will never change. You don't know what God knows. And you don't realize what God can do so quickly.

So I said, Nehemiah in 52 days what others had not done in 90 years. Now after Nehemiah had taken these first three preparation steps in Jerusalem, he is now ready to unveil his dream. And how he did it and what he said, and the way he said it, was brilliant. So these next six steps are the same thing that you need to say when you're trying to enlist support for something you wanna do, for your dream, for your God-given vision in life. And if you'll follow precisely what Nehemiah did in Nehemiah chapter two and say what Nehemiah said, you will find a receptive audience. All right, here's what you say to enlist support when you're trying to get other people to care about what you care about, to do what you know needs to be done. You see something out there and you go, "This needs to change, this is not right".

How are you gonna get other people to help you? Here's step four. Talk about we, not me. Talk about we, not me. You wanna create community. The words you use, it's not my dream. Here's what I'm gonna do. Now think about this, Nehemiah is an outsider. He had never lived in Jerusalem. His parents had probably, but he had never lived in Jerusalem. But even though he's an outsider, he talks like an insider. He talks about we us, not me, my and I. In verse 17, "Now I said to them, you can see the trouble we are in". Circle the word "We". "You can see the trouble we are in. Come let us, circle us, rebuild".

Now, what's he doing with these words? He's identifying with the people. He says, we not me. He says us not I. He's building community. Great leaders create a team for the dream. Nehemiah doesn't arrive in Jerusalem saying, "You guys are all a bunch of losers. You're living in a heap of rubble, defenseless and you've given up and you've become apathetic. And you're used to living like a failure. You guys suck". He didn't put the blame on them. Now, listen, there are gonna be many times in your life where you're gonna see a problem and you're going to have to choose between fixing the blame or fixing the problem. Any time you blame others, you lower their motivation. Anytime you accept the blame, you increase the motivation.

Now, you've heard me say this so many times. You spell blame "Be lame". Anytime you blame you're being lame. Nehemiah doesn't play the of an outside expert coming in here to tell everybody what a bad job they've been doing. He didn't say "I'm gonna be your savior and I'm gonna fix everything for you". Instead he says, "I'm one of you. This is our problem. And together, I know that we can succeed this time because God is with us". To accomplish your dream you have to identify with the feelings of other people and you must draw them in offering to help them accomplish something they've always wanted. You create a sense of community. This is what leadership's all about. Now we come to the next step. When you create community, you talk about we, not me.

Number five, the next thing you do when you're trying to help people get on board, you paint a picture of what needs to be changed. Paint a picture of what needs to change. You've probably heard the expression, "I'll believe it, when I see it". That's actually true, but in a different way, that that phrase is given. It is actually true. You'll believe it when you see it. Nothing great is ever accomplished with people until they see it in their minds for the first time. You have to see it in your mind first before you can accomplish it. Whether you're an architect building a building or an entrepreneur building a business, or you're a teacher planning a lesson, or you're a chef cooking a meal, or you're a leader leading change, or you're a parent working with your kids, you have to see it in your mind and then you have to get others to see the end result in their kind before it happens.

So you gotta paint a picture. Nehemiah, graphically, and dramatically painted a picture of how bad the problem was. Remember, these people are apathetic. They they've been living in this rubble for years. In fact, he didn't minimize it, he emphasized it. "The second part of her 17 says you can see, circle that, all the trouble that we're in". You can see he's saying, he's getting them to picture the problem. Now, why? Because they're not seeing it anymore. When you live around something long enough it's human nature that you start ignoring it. When you live with a bad situation you start by justifying it and then you rationalize it, and then you ignore it, then you become apathetic about it.

I remember years ago, we had a mirror in our bathroom and it got cracked, and I don't know why it got cracked, but it just did. And when I first saw it, it really bugged me. We got to get this mirror fixed. It really, really bothered me. A week later we hadn't gotten it fixed. It's still bothered me, but not as much. Two weeks later it didn't bother me hardly at all. And six months later, it was still there. Why? Because we become comfortable with the ruin and the rubble in our lives. This happens in a lot of marriages. Status quo is Latin for the mess we're in. You become satisfied and apathetic with less than the best.

Now, if you're going to enlist support for your dream you're gonna have to create some discontent with the current situation first. And then you're gonna have to picture how it could be better. That's why this series is called Building a Better Future. Nehemiah is getting them to face the facts because he first researched the facts and things weren't good. Things were bad, but he would paint a picture of a better future. Now change, listen never occurs until we become discontent. So if you wanna create change in your home, in your marriage, in your family, in your school, in your work, if you wanna create change in your office, in your community, in your country, in the world, you have to paint a picture of how it could be better. You create discontent and show how it could be better.

Now, along with this comes step six, Nehemiah's brilliant plan, appeal to people's hearts. That's the sixth thing you do when you're trying to enlist support for a vision, a dream, or a goal or project. We often assume that people base their choices on logic and reason, but that's just not true. Most of the decisions you make in life are based on how you feel. You base them on your feelings, on your emotions. You make a decision based on your emotions and then later you look for a logical reason to justify what emotional decision you make. So what does Nehemiah do? He appeals to their hearts. He appeals to their desire to feel good about themselves. Nothing wrong with that. And he appeals to them being proud of their city.

The third part of verse 17, he says, "Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so we will no longer be living in this grace". Interesting. The motivation for rebuilding the wall so we will no longer be living in disgrace. The New Jerusalem Bible translation says, "So we will end our humiliation". The New Century Version translation says, "So we won't be ashamed anymore". What is Nehemiah doing? He's appealing to their dignity. Smart guy. He says, "Guys, we're better than this. We're better than this. We don't have to put up with. We don't have to live in rubble and ruin. We are God's people. He doesn't want us living in disgrace. Besides it's a poor testimony of our faith".

This kind of faith that Nehemiah projecting now is a breath of fresh air to people who are discouraged and defeated and demoralized. He's going, "We can do this with God's help. We don't have to live in disgrace or shame. And once again, we'll be able to hold our heads high". Now, one of the things that this said to the people of Jerusalem was this, this leader, this Nehemiah dude, he's different. He actually cares about us. The motivation he gives for rebuilding the wall is, so we won't be in disgrace. He cares about how we feel. He's not doing this for his personal agenda. He's not making a profit on this. He's concerned about us. He realizes we're demoralized, we're discouraged, we feel like failures. This is somebody who loves us. He's not trying to make money offers. And you know what? All of that was true of Nehemiah. He was. Didn't want them to feel bad. He didn't want them to be disgraced. But even had a deeper motivation than that. Nehemiah was concerned for God's glory because not only were the Jewish people being disgraced, God was being disgraced.

You see the Jews were called "God's chosen people" and yet the whole world was laughing at them. Those poor Jews. They claim to worship the one true God but they're living in a rubble of a ruined city. Their God must not be very powerful after all. It was a poor testimony. It was an embarrassment to God's reputation. God's name was being defamed by others. So Nehemiah, when he is trying to motivate people to get involved in the dream, he doesn't appeal to external motivations. You know, with a little reward systems. He doesn't say, whoever helps me rebuild a wall will win an all expense paid vacation to the Dead Sea. Now, instead of external motivation, rewards, he uses internal and eternal motivation. You'll feel good about yourself and God will be glorified.

Now here's the next step that Nehemiah took and you're going to need to do this in getting support for your dream. Number seven, very important, share your story to inspire others. Share your story to inspire. Verse 18 Nehemiah says this, "I also told them about how God had been with me and how he graciously helped me in my conversation with the king in gaining his support". So now Nehemiah gives his testimony. This is important part of sharing your dream. People wanna know what's it mean to you and what's God doing in your life. Nehemiah is telling his story of trusting God. You need to tell your story of trusting God because when you tell your story of trusting God it builds faith in other people. When people see your example of living by faith, it motivates them to live by faith.

So Nehemiah explains how God put a burden in his heart. He said, I didn't want this job. In fact, I had a very comfortable cushy job in the King's court in Persia, but God put a discontent in my heart when I saw what was happening to you guys here in Jerusalem. And the more I prayed about it, the more God said to me, "Why don't you be the answer to your own prayer Nehemiah"? And God says, that's what I want for you Nehemiah. This is the dream I'm putting in your heart. So I did my homework and I prayed, and I planned, and I prepared and God opened the door and gave me the opportunity to share my dream with the king of Persia, and you know what? God changed his heart.

The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and he turns it any way he wishes. And he gave me everything I wanted. He gave me permission to come. He gave me protection for my journey and he gave me the provision of lumber that we're gonna need to succeed. And he's even gonna pay for all this project. So you guys, what do you think? That's pretty powerful testimony. Now, let me just pause here to say this, if somebody comes to you with a dream and they claim God told me to do this, you have every right to ask them, okay, so what confirming signs from God prove that the dream really is from God? How has God already helped you? And if they can't say anything about that, well you have every reason to doubt it.

Nehemiah could say, this is what God has done in my life so far. It was a miracle that the king of Persia was letting him rebuild a wall that he'd previously said will never be rebuilt. So Nehemiah's testimony is thrilling and it's inspirational. It's convincing the people. How do they respond? Of course, positively. Verse 18, "So they all responded saying, 'let us, let us, not let Nehemiah, let us start rebuilding now!' So together they began the good work". And what's happening here? The vision is being transferred. Let us rebuild the wall. First it was just Nehemiah's vision, now, it's our vision. We are gonna do this together.

Now let's look at this. After created community, after you've painted a picture of what needs to change, after you've appealed to people's hearts with internal and eternal motivation, and after you've shared your personal story of faith and how God has been helping you, you're ready for step eight. Ask for help confidently. You might even just write down, ask for help fearlessly. See, you just don't pump people up with all this inspirational dream and then walk away say, have a nice day. You get specific and you ask for help. This is the moment of truth. Will you join me in this task? Will you join me in the dream? Nehemiah verse 17, Nehemiah says, "come, let's rebuild the wall now"!

You gotta ask friends. You gotta ask. That's the scary part of having a dream. The Bible says you have not because you asked not. And that's not just true in asking for God's help, it's also true in asking for the help of others. Now, in my previous message, I warned you to not say no for other people. Never assume that you know their answer in advance. If they wanna say no, let them say it. Never say no for anybody. Your job is to just ask. Now when you think, I don't like to ask other people for help. I don't like to ask him for assistance. I'll just do it myself. When you say I'll just do it myself, you reveal your own insecurity, you limit what God wants to do in your life because it's limited to just you and you rob other people of the blessing of being involved. This church would have never been built by one person. It's been built by thousands and thousands and thousands of people. At the start of this message I told you that no dream is built without opposition.

So the final step is this, number nine, ignore naysayers and expect God's help. When you finally lay out the dream and you lay it out on the line and say, will you help me? There will be some naysayers. So what? Verses 19 and 20 of Nehemiah two says this, "When Sanballat and Tobiah oh, now we've added a third guy, Geshem, heard this, they mocked and ridiculed us". Can you handle that? You don't need the approval of other people to make you happy. What other people think of you is none of your business. "They mocked and ridiculed us. They said, 'What do you think you're doing? Who do you think you are?' they asked. We haven't done this in 90 years, why do you think now you're gonna be able to rebuild the wall. Are you rebelling against the king? They're trying to make them afraid. Maybe the king will come in and smash them all again. Nehemiah says, 'I simply replied to all this ridicule and mocking, the God of heaven will give us success.'"

The God of heaven will give us success. We are his servants and we will rebuild this. But you have no claim or right to this city. Now, did you notice that a third opponent is mentioned? I need to warn you. I've had this. I know this from experience that you farther you go with God's dream, the more likely the opposition will grow too. I didn't have a whole lot of opposition when it first started Saddleback Church, but there's an awful lot now. And in another message, we're gonna look at six different kinds of opposition, including this example that Nehemiah had to deal with and how he brilliantly disarmed and defeated every one of these opponents and critics.

So I'm not gonna go into that right now, but as we close I just want to point out that Nehemiah did not spend much time responding to critics. I don't spend much time responding critics, why? You wouldn't have time to get anything done. If you respond to every critic, the devil will make sure you're constantly criticized. And you'll never get anything else done if all you're doing is reacting to what other people think of you. Nehemiah simply replied, "The God of heaven will give us success"! We are his servants and we will rebuild this wall regardless of your criticism or your attacks or your mocking or your ridiculing, whatever.

Now, I hope you took some time this past week to begin writing down your thoughts and dreams using the seven steps we looked at for building a life plan that we learned from Nehemiah in our last message. If you didn't, I wanna encourage you to start this week. Go back and look at those seven steps in that message on starting to build a life plan post COVID. And then, you can review these steps that we've just looked at today, for how you enlist support for your dream. I've carried this little card in my wallet and in my desk for 42 years. I've revised it many, many many times, but this is the original. And every time I was worried about, are we gonna have enough people to help us do what we need to do?

I'd pull this card out and it says this, "Great people ready to help me at the right time and the right way, people I don't even know yet. I will never give up because I don't have the help but I will trust God to provide the help that I need. Because Psalm 37:5 says, 'Commit your way to the Lord, trust him to help you, and he will.' God has the resources to help you that you have not even considered. There are multiplied thousands of persons with all sorts of talents and skills and concerns and contacts that God can bring into your life to fulfill his plan and dream. So open your eyes and see the faces of people around you. Open your ears to hear what they're saying. Today, tomorrow, next week, you'll meet someone who is just the right person you need. And that right person will come along at just the right time and fulfill the things that you need and you will marvel knowing that God arranged it so beautifully".

I have seen that fulfilled thousands of times in my life. So I wanna say to you, regardless of the dream that God gives you, you can do this. You can do this. The same God who used Nehemiah who had never built anything in his life wants to use you in a great way. So stop making excuses. Start dreaming the dream God has for you. Use the steps that he's given to us in his word that we looked at in the last message on how to write out a life plan. And then, when the time is right and you started asking other people to help you, use these steps that we've looked at today. It will change your life. Let's pray:

Father, when we look around at our world today, we see a lot of things that need to be changed. There are a lot of people living their lives in rubble and ruin, and they become disillusioned and demoralized and discouraged, defeated, and even apathetic. And they need somebody to help them see your dream for their lives. I pray Father that Saddleback Church will be a fellowship of godly dreamers Who attempt great things for God and expect great things from God. I'm asking you Father, I really am, to help us see just a glimpse of what you would like to do in our lives and through our lives and help us just like you helped Nehemiah to take these steps of faith in making a difference in our world.

If you've never opened your life to Christ, say:

Jesus Christ come into my life right now. I wanna know your purpose and plan for my life. Thank you for loving me. I wanna follow you. I wanna learn about you. I need you to be my manager, my Lord, and savior. And I want my life to count for you. I wanna be what you made me and intended for me to be. Jesus Christ I humbly ask you to save me. In your name I pray. Amen.

Are you Human?:*