Saturday, February 20, 2010


"I'm not easily distracted... Oh Look a Squirrel!!" Its something we laugh at but it has become all too prevelant these days. Being distracted by something that looks better

Distractions are big among leaders now. I spoke with a pastor the other day who is doing a consultant job on the side; making trips to other parts of the country to see new innovative churches; talking to people about making a movie with his church people and then he asked me a question: “I wonder why my church is not really growing?” Maybe because of what I call pastoral or church ADD. Could it be the hard work or the wanting to be someone other than a pastor or maybe pride cause this pastor to go..... Oh look a Squirrel!

I like how Nehemiah handled distractions and Ministerial ADD in Nehemiah 6. There is a lesson for all of us.

KEEP WORKING IN SPITE OF DIVERSIONS. Nehemiah’s enemies they tried to sidetrack him. They said, Nehemiah, let's have a peace conference. Let's get together and discuss. They mentioned the plain of Ono, twenty miles north of Jerusalem. What could be wrong with that? But Nehemiah said, I'm carrying on a great project and I can't go down. Why should I stop the work on the wall and go down to you? He's saying, I'm not coming down. He would not be distracted until the wall was finished.

The time for discussion is past. It's time for work. Have you known people that want to talk more than they want to work? They discuss to stop you from working? That's what's happening here. Many churches never accomplish anything because everything they do, they assign to a committee and then they table it More than that, it would delay the project. "Why should I stop and come down to you when the work has not been finished?" You don't want to discuss, or debate. You have a hidden agenda and want to delay the thing. You want to keep it from being built."

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. The reason why Nehemiah finished it he wouldn't let anything distract him. He kept his eyes on his goal. They came to him four times. He said no each time.

YOU KEEP WORKING IN SPITE OF SLANDER. They tried to slander Nehemiah. You're just trying to build an empire. We know what you're doing. They were challenging his motives. They said, You're setting yourself up as king and you're hiring prophets to promote yourself. They sent this letter unsealed. It was like a letter to the editor. They wanted everybody to read it. It's meant to stir up rumors.

Anybody that sets big goals is going to be criticized and slandered by people who set no goals. Failures hate successes. Who is the most falsely accused man in history? Jesus. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven."

Nehemiah discerns their motive. v. 9, I know what you guys are doing, you're trying to make me upset so I'll stop working and start defending myself. Have you ever had to stop work on something because somebody was criticizing you and start defending yourself? Nehemiah said I'm not going to get caught in that trap. I'm not going to start responding to rumors and innuendos. I'm not going to get discouraged and quit. Probably the most difficult thing to do as a leader is to handle false accusations. You want to give up! Nehemiah said I'm not going to do that. He denied the accusation and prayed for the strength. v. 9 "They were all trying to frighten us thinking, `Their hands will get too weak for the work and it won't be completed.'" He said, I'm not going to get involved in an argument

Abraham Lincoln: "If I were to try to read, much less answer all the attacks made against me this shop would close for business. I do my best, the very best I know how, the very best I can. I man to keep on doing it until the end. And if the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing that I was right wouldn't make a difference." Don’t take time from the task for silly fights.

KEEP WORKING IN SPITE OF THREATS:If you want to be a leader, keep working in spite of danger.
Now they're trying to scare Nehemiah by danger. Evidently this man, Shemaiah, a friend of Nehemiah's was evidently gotten to by the bad guy Sanballat and bought him off. He was told "Go tell your buddy Nehemiah there's an assignation plot on his life. We've put a hit man out on him. The only way he could be safe is to run and hide in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The bad guys won't follow in there for fear of God."

Nehemiah's response, v. 11, "I said, `Should a man like me run into the temple to save his life? I will not go.'" He would keep on working in spite of danger. Why didn't he give into this?
It would make him look like a coward. "Should a man like me run away?" I'm the leader of this thing. I'm building the wall around Jerusalem. If I run and hide in the temple what's that going to do to the morale of the people? .

"I realized that God had not sent him" Nehemiah was a very perceptive person. He realized that this wasn't advise from the Lord. This guy said he was from God, "I know! I have a word to you from the Lord. Run and hide in the Temple." Have you noticed that some people who say they're speaking for God, aren't? Some people say, "I think this is God's will for your life" and they have no idea at all. They may have a hidden agenda.

One of the basic lessons of Nehemiah is that leadership is essential for any project.

Four things I believe you need, as a leader, to succeed in the face of distraction, slander, threats and fight Pastoral and Church ADD!

1. A Compelling Vision: This is the very first element of leadership. It's something that pulls you towards that goal. It doesn't drive you, it draws you. You have to have a compelling purpose.
That's why, when they came back in v. 3, and said "Nehemiah, we want you to leave the wall and come out and have a little party with us. You've been working on the wall too long. Come talk to us, Nehemiah." Nehemiah said, "I am carrying on a great project." Nehemiah was very single minded. I'm going to keep the main thing the main thing. I'm carrying on a great project. I think we move on to other different projects that we lose the vision and call that God has given us.

2. You need a Clear Perspective: Nehemiah had incredible discernment, spiritual radar. Every time a trap came up, he sensed it. He could smell it every time. He was perceptive. James 1:5 "If any man lacks wisdom, ask God." When you spend time in the word of God you begin to take on the mind of Christ and you'll be a more perceptive leader. \

3. A Continual Prayer Life: Nehemiah was a prayer-addict. His first response to everything was pray. No matter what happened, he first prayed. That's the number one thing you do when you're slandered. Instead of taking it out on the person, you talk in out to God. Luke 18:1 "Jesus told his disciples that they should always pray and not give up."

4. A Courageous Persistence: One of the great keys to success is the ability to hang in there! Keep on keeping on! Keep on doing what God wants us to do!How can you be fearful and courageous at the same time? Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving ahead in spite of your fear

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