Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Start: Start Now, Start New, Start Over
Sermon 1: You Are Here
- Go around the group and have each person tell whether they are good with maps and directions or whether they tend to be directionally “challenged.”
- This series is about starting now, starting new, or starting over. Which of those three resonate the most with you personally, and why?
- Read Nehemiah 1:1-11:
The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
What thoughts or questions come to your mind as you read this passage?
- Pastor Dale said, “Don’t mistake motion for movement.” What did he mean by that? What’s the difference?
- Pastor Dale spoke about the tendency we have to drift and quoted Oliver Wendell Holmes: “To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”
- Drifting happens:
- When we are distracted
- When we are defeated
- When we are deceived
Talk about a time in your life when you drifted. What caused it? What happened?
- James 1:8 says that a double-minded person is unstable in all they do. What does that mean?
Starting right involves first…
- Knowing exactly where you are (Nehemiah 1:1-3)
- Consider where you currently are in your life. How do you feel about your current position and direction? Is this where you want to be?
- Feeling discontent over your situation, or a compelling reason to leave. (Nehemiah 1:4)
- Nehemiah and his people were in exile, which is the state of being barred from one’s native country. Have you ever felt so discontented with your life situation that you were willing do something difficult in order to make a change? Tell about that experience.
- Pierpont Morgan, Sr. said: “The first step toward getting to a new place is deciding you can’t stay where you are.” What did he mean by that?
- A willingness to seek God’s guidance (Nehemiah 1:4)
- Many of us at COH are Christ-followers, however if you haven’t yet had a chance to start a relationship with Christ but are still seeking, our church is a safe place for you to do that. Tell the group about your spiritual journey and how you got to the point you’re currently at with God.
12. Three things that were true of Nehemiah:
- He understood who God is
- He had reverence and respect for God
- He was willing to repent
Which of these three things is also true of you?