Morning! Welcome to week 3 of our Building for God series as we look to our future as a church.
If you weren’t here last week, I would ask that you watch last week’s message online where we explain everything that’s happening…
But since I obviously can’t wait for you to do that right now ☺, let me quickly sum it up for you
Our desire as a church, from the beginning, has been to be a people being changed by God to change the world.
And we want to do just that.
We want to impact and reach as many people for Christ as possible.
(Show Attendance Chart Graph)
And as you can see in this graph of our attendance history, God has already been allowing us to reach many for Christ over the last 10 years.
And you can see here that we’ve had tremendous growth…especially in the past 3 years.
And based on those trends, we know, that if we do nothing, that in just over 2 more years here, we’d be turning people away at Northpoint.
So, we’re not going to do nothing.
In fact, for 5 years now, we’ve been in the process of raising funds for land, purchasing land, and now raising money for our future building!
A building…that we’re working towards…not simply so we can “have a building,” but so we can have more space to Amplify this mission…and continue to reach more and more people for Christ.
And so, I mentioned last week that in order for us to break ground this upcoming March, our bank is requiring us to raise an additional $210,000 in pledges.
Which is a tall order…but possible.
Before we jump into Nehemiah this morning, I want to give you a special look at what this building is going to look like.
Last week, we showed you the outside of the building, and today, we’re going to go inside!
Just a heads up as you watch this flythrough:
Don’t get distracted by the people…they’re fake people the architects put in, so don’t say they’re too young or too old or wearing funny clothes. They’re fake people. ☺
You’ll notice that there are a lot of details to the building, but also that many of the walls are blank or rooms are empty…
This is an artist’s rendering, so “No, we won’t only have 4 weaving baskets in the children’s room, etc.”
It’s a video meant to show you the basic layout/flow of the building…so don’t get too caught up in details.
Picture yourself in there…and the amazing things God will be doing there!
All right…you ready to see this?
(PLAY INTERIOR FLY THROUGH)
(PUT UP WORSHIP CENTER IMAGE)
In fact, if you look at this farthest back row here, distance-wise, that’s where our sound table is in this room!
So the farthest away seat in the house…will be closer than about 25% of the seats in this room…
Even though we’re adding almost 200 more seats!
The ability to create a wide room instead of a long room (like this gym) will really help everyone feel closer together!
MAKING YOURSELF AVAILABLE
All right, let’s jump into the book of Nehemiah in the Bible.
The story of Nehemiah takes place about 400 years or so before Jesus.
Chapter 1 tells us that Nehemiah is an important servant to the King of Persia (in modern-day Iran)
And Nehemiah’s brother comes all the way from Jerusalem and tells him that the walls of Jerusalem are still broken down and the city is in disgrace.
Nehemiah then cries tears for his city of Jerusalem and feels led by God to do something about it.
So, in chapter 2, he asks the King of Persia to let him go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.
And because the gracious hand of God is on Nehemiah and this project, the King even provides Nehemiah with an army escort and timber for the project!
Nehemiah then goes to Jerusalem and inspires the people to begin building.
(Page 384) –
Everyone grab a Bible today.
Chapter 3 is a list of the people who helped build the wall.
Take a look at it quick with your eyes, and you can see the list of the people.
This is the type of chapter that many people speed read in the Bible…but I want to show you that there is, actually, a lot in here.
Take a look at verses 3 and 4…they’re a good example of how the entire chapter reads.
(Nehemiah 3:3-4) – NIV
3 The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 4 Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Me-shezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs.
The entire chapter reads like that.
Remember, the Bible is not a legend…or just stories, it’s recorded history
In describing the rebuilding of the wall, Nehemiah begins at the northeast corner of the wall, and then lists of the builders going counterclockwise around the wall.
In some places, the wall had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, but in other places, they only had to make repairs.
We’re also told that there were 10 gates that needed to be repaired or put in
And here’s the main principle you can pull out of studying chapter 3: Everyone is doing this together.
Everyone is helping with the wall.
Even if it wasn’t their main gifting.
Look at verse 8 for example:
(Nehemiah 3:8) – NIV
Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.
Look, these aren’t professional builders.
Hananiah is a perfume-maker…
He’s making Axe Body Spray for the awful smelling Junior Highers of Jerusalem…
He doesn’t know how to build a wall.
But he’s pitching in…and figuring it out…because it’s important!
There’s a famous missionary named Viggo Olsen
Olsen helped rebuild ten thousand houses in war-raved Bangladesh in the 1970’s
And one of his biggest sources of inspiration was this very chapter of Nehemiah…a chapter that many skip right over.
Olsen writes this about reading chapter 3:
“I was struck… that no expert builders were listed in the (the entire chapter). There were priests, priests’ helpers, goldsmiths, perfume makers, and women, but no expert builders or carpenters were named.” – Viggo Olsen
And God used this missionary to do incredible things because he realized that, as many have said:
“The most important ability in the work of the Lord…is availability”
And so 42 different groups of people, from all walks of life, make themselves available to build the wall around Jerusalem.
They see that the end goal (the building of the wall) is going to be worth it, so they help out.
And we want to do the same thing.
If we’re going to do this…and pull this off, it’ll take ALL of us coming together.
…all of us making ourselves available to be used by God.
And trust me, the “end goal” is worth it.
I think anytime a church talks about expanding…or extra space…or 480 SEATS…or anything like that…
The temptation is to just think about numbers.
But we’re not just talking about numbers here.
When we talk of reaching hundreds or thousands more in Blaine, Andover, Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, and Lino Lakes
We’re not just talking about numbers…or chairs.
We’re talking about people…real people.
It’s actually easier to see that by looking backwards instead of forward.
I want you to take a look Chris’ story…from our church.
(PLAY CHRIS TESTIMONY VIDEO)
The harvest is plentiful.
And this next season, is about writing more stories like that one.
It’s not just numbers…but real people and real stories.
That’s who we’re sacrificing for.
There are people ALL over this city and beyond that need to know Christ…
And they need us to sacrifice to do it.
And I think that word, sacrifice, is important.
One of the things that hit me about Nehemiah chapter 3 was that all of these 42 different groups of people had to sacrifice to build this wall.
The merchants (listed in verse 32), and the goldsmith and the perfume-maker, and plenty of others…
They were missing work while they were building the wall…they were losing income!
They sacrificed…because the greater goal was worth their sacrifice!
We’ve been working towards this process of getting land and a building for 5 years now…and people are really excited about it.
But as I’ve said here before, there is a huge gap between, “This is a good idea” and “I will personally sacrifice to make this happen”
Let’s take a look at verse 5:
(Nehemiah 3:5) – NIV
5 The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.
Who are you in this chapter?
Are you the goldsmith…sacrificing…so the wall can get built?
Or are you one of the nobles of Tekoa…who didn’t sacrifice?
I can’t imagine that the nobles of Tekoa disagreed with the wall being built…but…
They had determined that their lives were too important for them to sacrifice time and resources.
I can assure you that I can’t think of anything more important than reaching people for Jesus Christ…and saving someone for all of eternity.
When you spend the next 5 trillion years+ in heaven, you’ll never look back at anything you gave to helping people get to heaven and say, “That was wasted”
This, is truly a goal worth everyone doing together, and everyone sacrificing for.
And if everyone of us is going to do this together…that means we have to each let go of our excuses.
You see this in chapter 3 of Nehemiah.
Outside of the “nobles of Tekoa,” this is a “no excuses” group of people.
Some of these people weren’t even from Jerusalem.
There were the men from Tekoa (that actually did work)…
Tekoa was 12 miles south of Jerusalem
Verse 2 tells us that people from Jericho built a section.
Verse 7 tells us that people from Gibeon and Mizpah built a section
All of those people could have easily said, “This isn’t really my problem. I don’t even live within the walls of Jerusalem”
But because they were the Israelites of the area… and Jerusalem was so critical to God’s story with his people, they owned the problem.
And so should we.
It would be really easy to say, “Well, I’ve got my own stuff going on in my life…things I need to fix or improve in my own life first”
But listen, this problem is all of ours.
The fact that people are slipping into hell…as we speak…
Right from our own city.
That’s something that all of us need to do something about!
We can’t say, “Oh, that’s someone else’s problem”
No, that’s our problem!
This is OUR city.
If we’re going to do something significant about this…we have to put our excuses aside…and do it together!
$210,000 & TITHING
And so, as I said at the beginning, our goal is to raise $210,000 more in pledges, which would allow us to secure a loan in the next month or two, and then break ground in March (weather permitting)
We’ve already had almost 1.5 million pledged from the last 2 years…so many of you have already been SOO generous in this project…it’s incredible!
But we also know that there are 100 or so of you that are new since we talked about this last year…or others of you have been here for a year or two and haven’t yet pledged.
And so if we’re going to raise $210,000 and break ground this Spring, we’re going to have to rely heavily on the 100 or so of you that are new here (or haven’t pledged)… joining us in this.
We need you. We just do!
We need to ALL do this together.
This isn’t a consumeristic church…and if it becomes one, we can’t do this.
We ALL need to sacrifice.
We ALL need to let go of our personal excuses.
When you read chapter 3 of Nehemiah, you might notice the word “next” is used TWENTY-SIX times.
It says “Next to him,” was this person
And “next to them”…was this group”
Look around at the people next to you.
If this is going to happen…we ALL have to be building together…
If there are gaps in the building (this row is out…)…then this won’t happen.
So we’re asking people who’ve never pledged to Harvest Building Fund before to pray about making a 15-month pledge
A pledge that would start next month, in December.
That’s a pledge of how much you want to give above and beyond what you’re already giving to the General Fund .
If you’re in a place spiritually where you are giving, but you’re not tithing yet (you’re not giving the Biblical 10% of your income...the “first fruits” of your finances to God like the Bible says)…
…maybe you ask the question this week of: “What would it take, sacrificially, to use this moment as an opportunity to get to 10%...to get to tithing?”
If you’re giving 5% to the General fund already, what if you, in addition to that, gave 5% to Harvest…to get to 10%?
I think that’s a great question to ask yourself…or to talk with your spouse about (if you’re married)
And be willing to pray, “God…take us to ‘gulp line’…a level that you know is possible…but requires some sacrifice.
King David himself famously says in 2 Sam 24:24 – I will not sacrifice that which costs me nothing.
This isn’t just about a building project, it’s not even just about the people we will reach.
It’s also an opportunity for God to use this as a teaching moment in our own lives…for us to take another important step of surrendering more of our lives to Him that we’ve previously labeled “off limits”
Talk and listen to God this week!
For those of you that have pledged to Harvest in the past, I said last week, we also know, that because $210,000 is a little higher than we were anticipating that number would be 12 months ago…(due to rising construction prices)
…we know that we aren’t probably going to make it to $210,000 from just the pledges of the 100 of you that are new.
So we’re asking all of you who have already pledged to Harvest in the past, to consider extending your pledge by an extra 3 months
For those of you that have already pledged, Harvest pledges were set to end in November of next year, 2020
And so we’re asking you to extend your pledges 3 months beyond that…
So that would be December 2020, January of 21, and February 21,
So basically if you’ve already been giving monthly for 24 months, or, what would be, 36 months at that time…we’re simply asking you to just keep doing it for 3 more months.
And if you’ve been giving annually, then to give a portion of that.
Or, maybe your circumstances have changed in the last 2 years that you’ve been giving to Harvest
Maybe you pledged some last year, but you want to get closer to tithing (to 10%)
Maybe you’ve gotten a new job or a promotion…and you want to up your pledge for the remaining 15 months.
IF that’s you, when you fill out your commitment card…just fill out the part for all 15 months, and put a new number on it.
LEADERS AND BEGINNERS
And this is for all of us to take part in…
From those of you that are leaders here to those of you who are still on the sidelines when it comes to giving.
Look at verse 1:
(Nehemiah 3:1) – NIV
Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel.
The high priest was THE spiritual leader for the Jews.
And he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work…along with his fellow priests!
Some of you in this room are financial leaders in this church.
And, because of God’s financial blessing in your life, you’re able to make a significant contribution in this project.
But I also know that pledging is going to look different for all of us
Here’s a look at the different types of pledges we’ll need for those of you that are pledging for the first time…for 15 months.
(put Giving Chart on screen) – keep up until verse.
This is in your Harvest Booklet that I know many of you have already.
If you don’t have one of these yet, our greeters will have by the gym doors on the way out today.
I want to encourage you to use this tool in the Harvest Booklet to help you see what different gifts look like at a monthly level.
And again…there are no all-star givers here.
It’s not equal gifts…but equal sacrifice…given your situation.
But listen, we’re praying someone would pledge $30,000 and $25,000
We need that to happen if this is going to happen.
And I know some of you can do that…and you can lead in that way.
But we’re also praying for people who feel like they can’t give anything, that you can find a way…to be a part of it….so everyone can do this TOGETHER.
Page 16 in fact has a ton of ideas in there on how to creatively find a way to give or even to increase your impact
Like one less coffee drink a week…or eating out less
Or delaying a vacation this next year
Or waiting one more year to get a new car
There are things we can all do to sacrifice so more people can meet Christ.
And sometimes the greatest impacts come from those you wouldn’t even expect.
In verse 5, we were told that the nobles of Tekoa refused to pitch in, but the rest of the regular men of Tekoa did the work for them.
Then look down to verse 27:
(Nehemiah 3:27) – NIV
Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel.
These guys are incredible.
They are actually doing double duty…to make up for their nobles!
Remember, there are no expert builders here…
Just people who have made themselves “available” to the Lord.
Having been working on this for 5 years now, I will tell you that some of the most generous people in our church, are people that you would NEVER expect…
It’s young people, or people just starting out…or people that you would think, “They could never…”
But God has moved in their hearts, and they did.
And guess what, God has blessed them for it.
And has moved mightily in many of their lives as they stepped out in faith!
COMMITMENT CARD & COMMITMENT SUNDAY
And so let’s do this together.
Between those of you have already pledged, and those that will pledge this year, our prayer is for 100% participation. .
On your way out of the building today, you’re going to get handed a commitment card for our Commitment Sunday next week (looks like this)
This is for everyone.
Whether you’re pledging for the first time, or extending your pledge for 3 months.
Take this home with you, and sometime this week, fill this out, and then bring it back next Sunday.
This is simply a pledge of your intentions.
It’s not a binding contract.
When you pledge, we’ll send you out information that week of how you can actually begin to give.
And if you’re married, again, we encourage you to talk with your spouse a lot about this during the week…and pray together
As a person who loves math and whose most used app on his phone is his calculator app..
I’ll tell you, this is a financial decision.
But ultimately, I believe it’s, most importantly, a spiritual decision.
We need to seek God this week
And then next Sunday…
(COMMITMENT SUNDAY SLIDE)
We’re going to have commitment Sunday…where we will all hand in our pledges together.
I know it will be a powerful moment!
Because I know….that years from now, people are going to look back at these years…and they’ll thank the people of Renovation Church…who were Renovation Church back when it was at Northpoint Elementary
And they’ll thank you…for helping save their life.
Without you…without your sacrifice…there wouldn’t have been room for them…
And they wouldn’t have known Jesus.
And their children’s wouldn’t have grown up knowing Jesus.
Thank you…for your faith and sacrifice.
God is going to do something great!
Let me pray
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.