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God's Word Our Story | Hearing From Nehemiah

gospel coalitionRepresenting all 50 U.S. states and 38 countries from 6 of the world's 7 continents, The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference gathered together nearly 4,000 women focused on Jesus Christ, desiring to grow in the Word in order to speak it clearly while spreading the life-giving Good News to others. The conference highlighted, "...feasting together on Nehemiah," (Kathleen Nielsen), providing the opportunity to dig deep–pulled into the power of Nehemiah's story–God's story, unfolding the Gospel in the Old Testament book, viewed from this side of the Cross.

From Friday, June 27

Some thoughts from Kathy Keller "Taking Action in Light of God's Word" (Nehemiah 1-2)

"[We] find Nehemiah...at the end of the chronological books recording the history of Israel...a last glimpse of OT history before the silence of 400 years begins (broken by the angels singing about the Messiah). Israel is no longer a magnificent Kingdom; but a broken remnant...led by a man whose only visual qualification is that he follows God...determines, "Something must be done! Often the way God calls you to a ministry is that you see a need that others don't." 

PRAY–God centered, anchored in the Word prayers to radically reorient your heart. Ask "God, how can I glorify you, how can I serve?" Don't complain to the elders or pastor about what ministry is missing, recognize that you might be seeing the need because God is calling YOU to fill it–boldly, uniquely, as HIS instrument. Nehemiah, his country in tatters, left a place of privilege for a hard life of labor and possible death, pointing us to a greater story along the redemptive arc...Jesus, the Greater Nehemiah, humanity in tatters, left the glory of Heaven entering into human history as a worker with the certainity of death. 

"God's people do not need to be powerful culturally or in power politically to be obedient to him and accomplish his purposes in the world."

Some thoughts from Tim Keller "Laboring for a God Who Fights For Us" (Nehemiah 3-4) 

"Some of the books of the Bible are difficult to preach and teach from. That shows the weakness of how we so often study the Word of God...how shallow our way of dealing with the Scripture is–[we ask] what is the moral of that story? The Bible is ONE STORY–one, large, narrative arc with a Divine Author."

We miss the progression in the Bible when we don't consider it as a whole. We might miss the implication of people from every echelon of society; men and women, clergy and laity, representing different towns, classes, groups, and trades–working together "NEXT TO HIM!" The clergy could not do it alone which points us to the cross and Jesus' death when the veil was torn and we become living temples, priests, holy, living stones with the very glory of God indwelling. It also foreshadows Paul who says multiple times we all have gifts and we need every person, every gift, they are ALL important and needed to ensure the community–your church family–functions as designed.

"The ministry of the gospel requires ALL the people of God to do ministry. And the unity...everyone is working together. This is a foretaste and a pointer that because we are holy, we are all ONE in Christ."