Al principio 1990, un hombre llamado Harry Myers me llamó. Connie y yo estábamos en Plano, Texas en ese momento trabajando en First Christian Church. No sabía quién era Harry Myers en ese momento., pero me contó todo sobre la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton y luego dijo que había recibido mi nombre de un amigo. Harry me dijo que estaban buscando un pastor. Le agradegué por llamar, pero le dijo que era feliz trabajando en El Primer Cristiano en Plano. Harry era persistente. Llamó unas cuantas veces más, pero cada vez que no me movié. Harry llamó un día y dijo, "¿Puedo bajar y conocerte?"Le dije, "Claro, but I really am happy here in Plano.”

Harry bajó y nos conocimos en un restaurante. Desearía tener un video de la reunión. Harry tenía 70 años en ese momento., pero había un incendio en sus ojos. Describió los grandes días que él y su familia habían experimentado en Britton Christian, pero describió esos días como días pasados por. Sonaba como el hermano de Nehemías, Hanani, que le contó a Nehemías sobre la situación desesperada de las personas que viven en Jerusalén. Para cuando terminamos de hablar Harry preguntó si Connie y yo vendríamos a ver la iglesia por nosotros mismos. Estaba muy feliz en Plano, Soy un individuo bastante fuerte, pero nadie, y me refiero a nadie, could have told Harry Myers “No” that day.

Larga historia corta, Connie y yo llegamos aquí a la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton el primer domingo de junio en 1990. Las paredes seguían en pie, pero la planta superior del Edificio de Educación, donde todos los niños solían reunirse para la escuela dominical, estaba siendo utilizado como almacenamiento. Nuestros chicos, Dan y Nate, eran sólo pequeños, pero la guardería estaba cerrada. Podría seguir describiendo lo difíciles que eran las cosas, pero no tengo suficiente tiempo para ponerlo todo delante de ti. Puedo decir que no había mucha gente aquí para adorar y para empeorar las cosas, durante el primer año que estuvimos aquí creo que teníamos 12 o 13 funerals.

El primer libro de la Biblia que pasamos en la adoración de la mañana fue el libro de Nehemías. Aprendimos cómo Nehemías confiaba en el Señor a través de la oración, aprendimos cómo Nehemías tomó notas sobre lo que había sucedido y lo que tenía que suceder, y nos enteramos de que Nehemías no reconstruyó el muro por su cuenta–todo el mundo se lanzó para ayudar. Estoy compartiendo esto principalmente para aquellos de ustedes que no conocen la historia de cómo Dios "reconstruyó" los muros de la Iglesia Cristiana de Britton. Lo que aprendimos de Nehemías nos moldeó como iglesia y nos sigue guiando hasta el día de hoy. Ahora, es marzo de 2020 y todavía estamos confiando en el Señor a través de la oración. Sabemos que el Señor nos ha llamado a ser un "Faro de Esperanza a la Ciudad,"pero nos está mostrando constantemente nuevas maneras de dejar que Su luz brille en nuestra comunidad. Y, como Nehemías y el pueblo de Jerusalén, hemos enfrentado desafíos, días difíciles, y la oposición a través de los años, pero siempre hemos sabido, once again like Nehemiah, “the God of heaven will give us success” if we simply stay focused on Him and the work He has given us. ¡Qué suerte! Let’s take a look at our Scripture for today found in Nehemiah 2:11-20.

11 Fui a Jerusalén, y después de permanecer allí tres días 12 Me puse durante la noche con unos pocos hombres. No había dicho que nadie lo que mi Dios habían puesto en mi corazón hacer por Jerusalén. No había ninguna monta conmigo excepto el en que estaba montado. 13 Por la noche salí por la puerta del valle hacia el Chacal también y la puerta del muladar, examen de los muros de Jerusalén, que había sido dividida, y sus puertas, que había sido destruido por el fuego. 14 Luego me trasladé hacia la puerta de la fuente y la piscina del rey, pero no había espacio suficiente para mi Monte pasar; 15 así que fui hasta el valle por la noche, examen de la pared. Finalmente, Dio vuelta de nuevo y entró de nuevo a través de la puerta del valle. 16 Los funcionarios no sabía dónde había ido ni lo que estaba haciendo, porque todavía había dicho nada a los judíos o los sacerdotes o nobles o funcionarios o cualquier otras personas que estarían haciendo el trabajo. 17 Entonces les dije, «Puedes ver el problema en: Jerusalén está en ruinas, y sus puertas han sido quemadas con fuego. Tal Como, debemos reconstruir el muro de Jerusalén, y ya no estaremos en deshonra.» 18 También les dije sobre la dela mano de mi Dios sobre mí y lo que el rey me había dicho. Ellos respondieron, «Empecemos a reconstruir.» Así que comenzaron este buen trabajo. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. «What is this you are doing?» Ellos preguntaron. «Are you rebelling against the king20 I answered them by saying, «The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.» (Nehemías 2:11-20 NIVO)

So many of those who have written books and commentaries about Nehemiah have written for leaders. Some of the titles I’ve run across this past week are, “Learning Leadership From Nehemiah,” “Hand Me Another Brick: Timeless Lessons on Leadership,” and “Nehemiah: Becoming a Godly Leader.” There’s no doubt, the lessons we can learn from studying Nehemiah can provide leaders with invaluable lessons, but the problem with this, for me is, most of us don’t see ourselves as leaders. I’m convinced that the lessons we learn from Nehemiah are for all of us. We may not be leading companies, sports teams, or neighborhood organizations, but each and every one of us has influence. Influence isn’t simply bestowed because of a title like “boss,” but influence is earned through relationships. You and I have influence with those we work with each day. Kids have influence with their friends. Padres, you have influence with the children the Lord has given you to raise in the ways of the Lord. Those of you who are volunteering to go to Britton Elementary School and read with Kindergarten kids each week, you need to understand that even though you may see those little ones for an hour a week, you have influence in their lives. Yo podría seguir y seguir, but I think you get the point, we all have influence and the lessons we are learning from Nehemiah are invaluable for us to be able to use our influence to bless and teach others.

Last time we were together we learned the king had given Nehemiah everything he needed so that he could travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. Things could not have gone any better. You might think that it would be smooth sailing ahead because Nehemiah said all of this had taken place because the gracious hand of God was upon him. What’s interesting is that the next two verses tells us,

9 So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites. (Nehemías 2:9-10 NIVO)

It is not going to be smooth sailing aheadit never is. This life is difficult. There will be times of peace, there will be times of quiet, but we must humbly praise God for those times and not expect that to be the norm. Expect that the road will be rough, the challenges will be exhausting, but God will be faithful every step of the way. Alguien dijo una vez, “Faith will move mountains, but don’t be surprised when God hands you a shovel.” Let’s take a look at Nehemiah 2:11-12.

11 Fui a Jerusalén, y después de permanecer allí tres días 12 Me puse durante la noche con unos pocos hombres. No había dicho que nadie lo que mi Dios habían puesto en mi corazón hacer por Jerusalén. No había ninguna monta conmigo excepto el en que estaba montado. (Nehemías 2:11-12 NIVO)

Don’t skip over verse 11. What did Nehemiah do for the first three days he was in Jerusalem. We don’t know exactly, but we do know what Ezra did when he first arrived in Jerusalem because he told us in Ezra 8:32.

32 So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days. (Esdras 8:32 NIVO)

Nehemiah probably did the same thing. It had been a long journey. He needed to rest up so he could be ready for the work to be done. En Marcos 6, we are told that Jesus and the disciples were so busy they didn’t even have time to eat. How did Jesus respond to the frantic pace of the day? Venga conmigo a Marcos 6:31 y te voy a mostrar.

31 Entonces, porque muchas personas iban y venían no tuvieron siquiera oportunidad de comer, les dijo:, «Ven conmigo de ustedes mismos a un lugar tranquilo y descansar un poco.» (Marcos 6:31 NIVO)

It is good to work and to work hard. It is good to make the most of the opportunities that are before us, but we must find time to rest, replenish, and be renewed. Even God rested after six days of creation in Genesis 2:2.

After Nehemiah rested for three days, he got up and set out. He tells us in verse 12, that he took only a few men with him to inspect the walls that had been broken down. He went out on his reconnaissance mission at night. He didn’t tell anyone what God had put in his heart, he didn’t tell them about his plan to rebuild the walls, he kept things quiet while he was gathering information. This is important for you and me.

We know Nehemiah was a man of prayer, we’ve witnessed his prayer already in the first two chapters of his journal. At the same time that Nehemiah was praying, he was planning. During the four months Nehemiah prayed for God to give him favor with King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah was beginning to put together a plan. There’s no doubt that Nehemiah was doing both as he rode the perimeter of the broken down walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah had heard about the condition of the walls and gates, but he had never seen them for himself. I noticed something this past week as I was studying these verses that really caught my attention.

Do you remember when Hanani told Nehemiah about the condition of the city and the people? Nehemiah sat down and wept, ayunó, Él oró, and he continued to weep and pray for what he said were many days. He had never seen Jerusalem, he had no idea what the destroyed wall looked like, but he wept over the condition of the city and the people. Now that Nehemiah is riding the perimeter, seeing the Valley Gate, the Jackal Wall, and the Dung Gate for the very first time, he could have never imagined that it was as bad as what he was seeing with his own eyes. Did you notice what he was not doing? There’s no hint of emotion. Nehemiah had no time to grieve now that he was in Jerusalem. Nehemiah was locked in on the task at hand. What Nehemiah saw was devastating, but Nehemiah was putting together a plan. Dr. Derek Thomas wrote,

God had told him, God had put it into his heart, but the details he had to work out for himself. He had to employ his wisdom. He had to wait upon the Lord; he had to engage in all of the necessary stratagems in order to effectively work out what it is that they would need. Careful planning in everything that you do…in Christian work you need careful planning. (Dr. Derek Thomas, Inspection: Nehemías 2:9-20)

That’s such great wisdom for you and me regardless of whether we are talking about where we go from here as a church, how you and your family proceed in the days ahead with your family, or your path ahead in life. You need to pray and you need a plan. After Nehemiah finished surveying the walls and gates, he tells us, en Nehemías 2:16-18.

16 Los funcionarios no sabía dónde había ido ni lo que estaba haciendo, porque todavía había dicho nada a los judíos o los sacerdotes o nobles o funcionarios o cualquier otras personas que estarían haciendo el trabajo. 17 Entonces les dije, «You see the trouble nosotros are in: Jerusalén está en ruinas, y sus puertas han sido quemadas con fuego. Tal Como, Deje que nosotros rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, y nosotros will no longer be in disgrace.» 18 También les dije sobre la dela mano de mi Dios sobre mí y lo que el rey me había dicho. Ellos respondieron, «Empecemos a reconstruir.» Así que comenzaron este buen trabajo. (Nehemías 2:16-18 NIVO)

Nehemiah gathered with the leaders of the people of Jerusalem and then, en el versículo 17, he spoke to them for the first time about what he had seen. There are three words in verse 17 that jump out at me: “We, nosotros, and we.” Nehemiah wasn’t the reason the wall was in shambles. Nehemiah hadn’t allowed the walls to be down for 150 años. So why didn’t he say, “Look what you’ve done! Why haven’t you done anything about the horrible condition of these walls? Have you no shame?!” That’s not how you motivate people. You don’t inspire others by beating them down. Nehemiah identified with the people, he put himself in the same predicament they were in by using “we” and “us.” I wish I had a week to go through all of the scenarios where this principle could help you and me in our relationships. Let me just share a couple. Do you have a marriage that is on the rocks? Things aren’t going well with your spouse. Don’t point long fingers of condemnation and let your husband or wife know that if they would just get their act together then you’d be happy. En lugar, let them know that “we” have a problem and that “we” can work through it, it’ll take lots of work, but we can do it with the Lord’s help. Maybe you’ve got a child whose making bad decisions, I can tell you that grinding on them won’t change them. Maybe you should talk about coming alongside of them, ask him or her, “How can we figure this out?” “What can we do to make better decisions?” I’m not suggesting that you or I gloss over the problem, Nehemiah didn’t do that, but what he did do was take up a shovel and a hammer and help turn things around. Te voy a mostrar lo que estoy diciendo. Lee el versículo 17 conmigo de nuevo.

17 Entonces les dije, «You see the trouble nosotros are in: Jerusalén está en ruinas, y sus puertas han sido quemadas con fuego. Tal Como, Deje que nosotros rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, y nosotros will no longer be in disgrace.» (Nehemías 2:17 NIVO)

You can easily see that Nehemiah didn’t downplay the problem, he didn’t make excuses either. El dijo, "venga, debemos reconstruir el muro de Jerusalén, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”

Oftentimes we use extrinsic motivation to try and motivate others. I can remember many years ago meeting with a man whose marriage was on the rocks. He had messed up big time and she was having a hard time forgiving him. Así, what did he do? He bought her an expensive new Lexus for Valentine’s Day. She didn’t turn down the gift, but the new car didn’t soften her heart one bit.

We use extrinsic motivation to try and get our kids to do better in school. "Cariño, I’ll give you $10 for every ‘A’ you make on your report card.” There’s nothing wrong with extrinsic motivation. Adults as well as kids like rewards. If you are the top salesperson at your company you might win a trip to Hawaii or Cancun or a pink Cadillac. Extrinsic motivation works some of the time, but intrinsic motivation is much better.

Nehemiah didn’t use extrinsic motivation on the people of Jerusalem. There was no promise of a weekend trip to a Dead Sea Spa or having their names carved in the donor section of the wall once it was rebuilt. Simplemente dijo, "venga, let us rebuildand we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah did share an important bit of information with the people in verse 18, cuando dijo:,

18 También les dije sobre la dela mano de mi Dios sobre mí y lo que el rey me había dicho. Ellos respondieron, «Empecemos a reconstruir.» Así que comenzaron este buen trabajo. (Nehemías 2:18 NIVO)

God had been opening doors for Nehemiah. He shared with the people how God had opened doors and the favor God had given him with King Artaxerxes, the same king who had ordered the building on the wall to stop some fifteen years earlier. The people sensed God’s hand at work and what they heard Nehemiah sharing inspired them to say, “Let’s get started!” Piece of cake right? Nehemiah got everything he asked for from the king. The people have total buy in with Nehemiah on rebuilding the wall. Who knew life could be so good? But hold on a minute. En el siguiente versículo leemos,

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. «What is this you are doing?» Ellos preguntaron. «Are you rebelling against the king20 I answered them by saying, «The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.» (Nehemías 2:19-20 NIVO)

If you are going to serve the Lord, if you are going to allow yourself to be used by God to do His work, to speak His truth, then you are going to face opposition. The enthusiasm of the crowd, who had decided to take up the task of rebuilding the wall, was still hanging in the air when Sanballat, Tobías, and Gershem showed up and began to mock and ridicule Nehemiah and the people.

Opposition comes in many forms and it all stings. Many years ago a friend of mine who is nationally known for his ministry came to OKC. I picked him up at the airport and we came back to the church. We were talking about his family and ministry and what was going on here at Britton Christian Church when my friend said, "Hays, ¿qué sigues haciendo aquí??” I knew what he meant. “What are you still doing in this little church in this little out-of-the-way neighborhood? You can do more.” I looked at my friend and said, “There’s no place I’d rather be than here.”

Nehemiah didn’t answer Sanballate, Tobías, and Geshem the same way I answered my friend. El dijo, “The God of heaven will give us success. Nosotros, sus siervos, will start rebuilding…” It was a different answer, but the same sentiment wasn’t it? Nehemías, in effect said, “There’s no place I’d rather be than here doing God’s work.”

I’ve had several of those conversations with friends through the years and many years ago the Lord gave me a phrase that I’ve never forgotten. You should write this down because it applies to you as well. “It doesn’t matter that people understand what I’m doing, but it does matter that I understand what God has given me to do.” Know what the Lord is calling you to do and don’t let the Sanballats and Tobiahs distract you. One more thing before we go. Before you can ever know what God has given you to “do,” you must know who you are. You must know your identity. Is your identity “in Christ” or are you being shaped by what others think about you, your job performance, your status at the club, or your accomplishments in life? Quiero darles una invitación esta mañana para arraigar su identidad en Jesucristo. Si nunca has entregado tu vida a Jesús, entonces por favor, por favor, no dejes que esta oportunidad te pase por. Vienen adelante y darme la mano dan a Jesús tu corazón.

Mike Hays

Britton Christian Church

922 NW 91a

OKC, OK. 73114

Marzo 8, 2020

El Dios del Cielo nos dará el éxito…
Nehemías 2:11-20
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