Hand Me Another Brick Leadership Series #31. Read It Today!
Dear Visionary Leader:
We need to ask ourselves this question today, and ask it well: If every member of the church were just like us, what kind of a church would our church be?
If everybody sang as we sing in the song service, if everybody prayed as we prayed in the invitation, if everybody were to give as we give during the offering, if everybody invited people as we invite people, if everybody studied their Bible as we study our Bible, if everybody witnessed as we witness, what kind of a church would our church be?
We are prone to look around and ask questions like, “What’s wrong with the church?” “Why is there the lack of revival?” “What will it take for the church to regain the cutting edge in our society and world?” Do you want to know what’s wrong with the church? We need to go and look in the mirror.
In Nehemiah 10:39 we read, “For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39).
Jesus Christ loves the church. Jesus Christ died for the church. In the Old Testament, the house of God was the temple. In the New Testament, the house of God is the church; not the church building, but the people. In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. In the New Testament, He has a people for His temple. And, that people is called, in 1 Timothy 3:15, “the house of God.” We are the household of God and we will not forsake it.
We are coming to the end of the Hand Me Another Brick Leadership Series. I hope you have enjoyed it half as much as I have enjoyed writing and preparing each lesson. The last major lesson is centered on the theme of “Not Forsaking The House of God.” Be sure to read the Visionary Coaching section below.
As leaders, it is important for us to arrange for times of personal examination. If our professional life outpaces our private life, we will bring frustration to ourselves and to those around us. It is always the inside the determines the success on the outside.
I. A Personal Examination
Nehemiah 10:39 is the climatic verse. It has been building for some time, and then, finally, Nehemiah brings the thought or theme to full maturity. It is in the chapter just before, Nehemiah 9:1-3, that the people made a personal examination of their lives.
We read, “Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sack clothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.”
I want you to notice the elements of personal examination.
First, we need to begin with humiliation. The people of Nehemiah’s day did it with fasting, with sackcloth, and with dirt upon their heads. In Old Testament times, people would take dust or dirt, throw it up in the air, and let it come down upon their heads. We don’t follow this custom anymore; but the spirit of it is certainly something we ought to emulate.
You see, humiliation means getting low to the earth. Our very word humus means “dirt.” They put dirt upon their heads to show how low they were, how humiliated they were before God. I believe there is one thing wrong with many churches in America, and it is this: that we sit in church as haughty, unbroken, unbent. Yet, it is “a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart” that moves the heart of God(Psalm 51:17).
There was brokenness and humiliation; and there was separation. In Nehemiah 9:2 we read, “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers.” What does that mean? It means that the people got alone by themselves; they got quiet; they came out from the world. In 2 Corinthians 6:17 we read, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord.“
We don’t hear much today about separation. Everything is sort of muddy; it’s not separated anymore. We have a “good Lord, good devil, take-it-or- leave-it” type of Christianity. It seems that the church is becoming more worldly, and the world is becoming more churchy. I tell you, if this happens very much longer, we’re going to find houses of God forsaken all over America. The people in Nehemiah’s day separated themselves. They refused to be chloroformed by the spirit of the age.
Not only was there humiliation; not only was there separation; there was confession. The people confessed their sins to the Lord. Notice, they confessed their sins; they didn’t compare their sins to other people. We should not look around and see what anybody else is doing. When will we realize that our measurement of success or approval is not based upon what others do or fail to do? Our measuring stick is the Word of God and the Son of God.
For example, in Hebrews 12:3 we read, “Consider Him, lest you become weary in your mind.” The term for “consider Him” is a mathematical term. The writer of Hebrews is literally telling believers to make a list of all the things that they are going through in their lives. Then, once they have made their list, they are to make a list of all the things that Jesus Christ went through regarding the cross. Once both lists have been created, they are to compare their list with the list of Christ. Once they have measured their lives in comparison to the life of Christ (not the lives of others), they will be renewed in their minds.
Herein lies one of the major challenges for each of us: personal examination. I challenge you to spend some quality time in introspection, asking the Lord for keen insights into your personal spiritual life. Blessings.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking