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Let the church say Amen!

Nehemiah 8:1-6 Nehemiah teaches us through the rebuilding of the wall that revival is not revival until the Word of God is returned to its rightful place. Real change is possible when there is a healthy appetite for God's word.

by Pastor Jackie Williams on July 28, 2018

Let the church say Amen!

Let the Church say Amen!    Nehemiah 8:1-6

One of my favorite hobbies is to cook a meal for my family. Oh how I enjoy cooking! I enjoy gathering different ingredients together for the purpose of creating a taste that each ingredient could never create on its own.  I enjoy how it brings out the creativity in me to create a meal that is unique, but above all I enjoy how it brings my family together. There is an excitement that invades our home when my family discover that I'm in the kitchen cooking. I must admit that though cooking is something I enjoy doing, the opportunity to do so does not come up often. So when I do cook I really go all out to create the best meal that I can. For that reason I tend to be in the kitchen a little longer than normal. I really take my time tweeking the ingredients, trying to make sure there is harmony among the ingredients  by constantly testing it and I believe this is where I lose a lot of my time in the kitchen. I hardly ever get it perfectly right on the first try. Almost always, as I test a newly created meal, I utter the phrase, "It's good, but there is something missing."

When I look at the church as a whole in the United States, I often find myself coming  to that same conclusion. It's good, but there appears to be something missing. On the surface it seems like the church has all the ingredients to be what God called it to be, but I know in my heart that there is something yet missing that is keeping us from walking in the fullness of our calling in the earth. I believe that I text shares with us what is missing in our churches. In the context of our text, Nehemiah was led of the Lord to go back to Jerusalem to begin the project of rebuilding the city walls that was destroyed by the Babylonians. Nehemiah suffered many challenges, and obstacles in his restoration project of the city walls, but yet with God's help he was able to rebuild the wall in 52 days. By the time we get to chapter 8, Nehemiah knew that his leadership in rebuilding the city walls was finished, it was now time to step back to allow the man of God, Ezra, to begin his mission of rebuilding the spiritual lives of the people. Not only was Jerusalem destroyed and descrated physically, but spiritually as well.

 Nehemiah had enough sense to know that rebuilding the wall was not enough. He knew something was still missing, that something was a healthy appetite for the Word of God. Somewhere a long the way our churches has traded its focus on the Kingdom of God for the American Dream. In David Platts book "Radical" stated " I am concerned that all of us Pastors and church members in our culture have blindly embraced an American Dream mentality that emphasizes our abilities and exalts our names in the ways we do church. Our culture is a culture that is driven by entertainment, therefore our churches has become more of a place of entertainment than worship. Jesus is no longer the main attraction in our Sunday morning worship. I was once told if you want to know how popular a preacher was, check out how many people who would come back for an afternoon service to hear him preach. And if you want to know how popular Jesus is check how many people who attend the local church prayer meeting.  Jesus has become an after thought to performance, personalities, programs and professionals. I know this is not true in every church, but I believe it is true on a large scale for many of our churches.

In our text the people needed a revival and that revival can only take place when the Word of God is restored to its rightful place in our lives. The people of God stood for about 6 hours listening to the Word of God attentively. there response of Amen, Amen was not a tipping of their hats in acknowledgement to the Word of God, but it was a declaration that not only do we agree, but we also agree to surrender ourselves to the Word of God to begin the work of change in our lives. Change is not possible without surrender. That's what Amen is really all about, "I agree to surrender to what you say O God". This is the missing ingredient in the church, we have lost our desperation for God and His Word. Thank God for beautiful sanctuaries, Thank God for more educated preachers of the gospel with their Masters and Doctorate degrees, thank God for the ministries we provide for our communities, thank God for the wonderful expressions of worship through music that we provide for Sunday morning, thank God for having the most cutting edge technology, and thank God big bank accounts, and memberships. But what good is our beautiful sanctuaries if God isn't there, what good is our education when there is no fire in our hearts, what good is the ministries we provide for our communities if we are not living out the gospel in our day to day living, what good is our wonderful music if our music is always focused on how God is going to bless us, but very little songs that promote blessing the Lord. In our text the beautiful expression of Amen was not in the lifting of their hands, neither was it in the posture of there bowed heads to the ground, but it was in their willingness to repent. Church lets get our appetite back for the Jesus where he is the main attraction for why we do what we do, and watch what God will do through us in the earth. So church let our Amen's be more than a call and response in a church setting, it's time to say Amen with a heart that is ready allow God's Word to influence us once again.

Pastor Jackie Williams

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