It’s a common cycle. We have a profound experience with God and we make big promises. And then it all goes wrong.
Why does that happen and how can we break out of that familiar pattern?
Is there a better way?
There's more to church than buildings.
There's more to a city than security.
There is joy.
And if a church or city is going to build for the future, they need to build on the joy that God gives generously.
Keeping going is hard. There are so many things that are likely to distract us and tempt us to give up.
Nehemiah knew that experience all those years ago. And the way he dealt with it is still helpful to us today.
It's a common experience. We begin projects with all the best intentions. We think it's the right moment, the right cause, the right strategy. And it starts well but then everything hits the fan. And we can be left floundering.
It happened to Nehemiah, it will happen to you. His story helps.
It's worth listening to and living out in our own contexts.
Chapter 3 of Nehemiah includes the names of people who worked selflessly for the sake of others.
Some were not particularly prepared; some seemed to have a better deal than others. Together they rebuild.
They have a memory of how things should be, and they are determined to all work towards the restoration of what they had once known.
You may not feel equipped or trained, but you are given a place. What does it look like when you feel that your 'place' is not what you would want?
Seeing a need, hearing a call, or even getting a vision isn't the hard bit. What many of us find difficult is moving from that stage to knowing what to do.
Nehemiah's experience offers timeless help for those who want to make a difference in the world.
There is often a cynicism about religion and money. How can we be known for our generosity rather than always looking like we are begging for money?
And how do we shape our own lives so that we are not gripped by financial fears, but learn a different way of approaching our personal financial affairs?
If we are to be pastors to those around us, how can we make sure that we show what a full life looks like, rather than allowing people to believe that Christianity leads to a reduced, limited life?
In other words, how do we make the good news look like good news?
Timothy is given extensive guidance about what Christian maturity looks like, and how the mature folks can lead in church.
These are the people we are becoming, so how do we grow in those characteristics?