Archive for December, 2011

Nehemiah: Bold Leadership

December 8th, 2011

Here’s the third crucially important lesson from the story of Nehemiah:

Protecting your spiritual integrity requires bold leadership.

If the story of Nehemiah teaches us anything, it teaches that clear standards by themselves aren’t enough. The people made all these vows, but then promptly disregarded them! So how can we guard against falling into the same trap?

Well, that’s where bold leadership comes in. If we’re in a position of leadership – parents, bosses, if you carry any leadership in the church – when we see the shadow of someone just about to cross a line, we need to be bold in addressing it.

We also need to be under bold leadership. We need to be in a church where the Bible’s clearly taught; where its standards are upheld. We need to have people around us who will speak up if they see that we’re in potential danger. We need to have friends in our life like Nehemiah – people who won’t condone or turn a blind eye to behaviour that’s just wrong. Do you have that? If you don’t, won’t you give someone permission to be like that with you?

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Nehemiah: Protecting Spiritual Integrity

December 7th, 2011

Here’s the second crucially important lesson from the story of Nehemiah:

Protecting your spiritual integrity requires clear standards.

If we’re serious about finishing well, especially in those areas where we’re susceptible to fall, we’ve got to have clear standards. A standard is deciding how far, and how much, and when, and who. It’s deciding in these areas, “Here’s what I’ll do, and here’s what I’m going to refuse to do… and that’s how I’m going to live.” A standard’s like an immovable object against which you can measure your progress. It’s something that gives you a point of reference because it doesn’t change. It’s not vague… It’s very tangible.

  • How many nights will you be away from your family?
  • How many hours of TV or computer?
  • Who are you going to date?
  • How far’s far enough?
  • How long are you going to stay?
  • Are you going to drink?
  • If you travel a lot with work, you need clear guidelines that you’ll stick to.


Maybe you’re thinking, “This is all a bit heavy. You’re really starting to load me down here!” But God’s saying, “I’m not loading you down. I’m trying to protect you because I love you and care deeply about what happens to you.” We need clear standards… we all do.


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Nehemiah: Potential to Drift

December 6th, 2011

The story of Nehemiah teaches us three hugely important lessons. Here’s the first one:

No matter what God has done for you, in you, or through you – you have the potential to drift right back into the same mess he saved you from.

How many of you have done this: Your life’s a wreck, you come to God, things start going well, and you decide you don’t need him again?

It’s a dangerous game! Because each time you disobey God you redraw the lines of what’s acceptable… and before you know it, you’ve completely lost sight of him. I’ve seen it so many times – friends of mine who’d experienced so much of God; and now it’s as though none of it ever happened, it’s as though they never knew him.

Maybe you you’re thinking that could never happen to you. You think you’re the exception. You’d never turn your back on God. But you know something? This story illustrates in a powerful way that no-one’s outside the realm of drifting. The fact that you’ve seen God do something incredible is a great kick-start to get you going. But that’s not enough to ensure you finish well; it doesn’t guarantee a good ending.

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