Thursday, June 21, 2012

What to Expect When You’re Expecting - Part 2 "The Good Stuff"

In my last blog I talked about what hardships you can expect in your life when you’re expecting to do a great work for God. I’ll admit, the post came off a bit “Debby Downer,” but if you’re like me, you don’t want things sugarcoated. Even Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world!”*

I’ve saved the best news for last. Let’s look at “the good stuff” in Nehemiah’s story. As you’ll see, when you obey God you can absolutely expect His help! 

God will send unlikely people to help you 

King Artaxerxes noticed that Nehemiah, his cupbearer, was “deeply troubled”* and asked him why. When Nehemiah explained how Jerusalem lay in ruins, the king asked how he could help. The king proceeded to give him time off, letters of recommendation, timber, and an armed guard. Did you see that--a heathen king helping his Jewish servant? That’s favor from an unlikely source!

Leaders will follow you

As Nehemiah describes the various people that helped build the wall, nine of the men were specifically referred to as “leaders.”* Why does that matter? Accomplishing a great work for God may require partnering with people of influence. “Influencers” can mobilize their followers. God will bring you “influencers” to help you raise the army needed to do the work.

People will be willing to work outside their specific talents to do the work that’s needed

A goldsmith, a perfume maker, priests, and merchants all became carpenters to help accomplish Nehemiah’s vision. One man even brought his daughters to help repair part of the wall, which back-in-the-day was considered “man’s work.” When you have a God-given vision, Spirit-led people will do whatever it takes to help you see it through.

You will develop a heart for the oppressed and even do something about it 

During a recent famine in Israel, the poor borrowed money at high interest rates from their wealthy family members just to survive. To pay back the debt, some were forced to sell their children into slavery! Nehemiah found out and was furious! He strongly rebuked those greedy relatives and demanded change. Because Nehemiah had proven himself a worthy leader, the people repented and changed their ways. What do you call that? A beautiful and unexpected side effect of obeying God!

My Nehemiah Experience

Just as my husband and I have experienced the difficulties of ministry, we’ve also seen God do all the “good stuff”. The unlikely people He’s sent our way to help, the gifted and talented leaders who serve alongside us . . . well, it’s miraculous. I’m always amazed how people will humbly serve to make our church plant succeed—getting up early to help transform our movie theatre into a church, helping with childcare, ushering, greeting, tearing down after service, etc. 

God also sent us an unlikely supporter--Joel Osteen. We’d only been a church for a few months when I produced a segment with the Osteen’s for The 700 Club. They found out I was a pastor’s wife, we talked about a few common friends we shared, and voila! Matt and I were invited to a private meeting with local pastors, given front row seats at his local “Night of Hope,” invited to become a Champion’s Network church and attend a CN pastors' conference at Lakewood Church. My husband and I eagerly attended and found ourselves laughing at the improbability of us being there. Looking around, pastors with mega-churches and multi-site campus churches surrounded us—and there we were, with our unknown little church plant of 200 people. Only God! 

My unexpected side effect of starting a church? I’ve developed a heart for women and children suffering from domestic violence. Before 3n1 Church, this cause was nowhere on my radar! While searching for some local community groups where our women could volunteer, I came across the H.E.R. Shelter, a temporary home for families escaping abusive situations. We’ve been working there almost 2 years, and I absolutely love these women and children!

I sincerely hope you will stick with the call of God on your life. It will be hard and you will be tempted to quit (BIG understatement). But if you will hold on to your God-given vision with the tenacity of a bulldog and the stubbornness of a mule, you will see God do unbelievable miracles. Keep expecting! 

* John 16:33
*facts taken from Nehemiah 2-4

1 comment:

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