Tears That Transform 1



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while you're still standing let me read Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 4 as soon as I heard these words I sat down and I wept and mourned for days and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven as soon as I heard these words I sat down and I wept and I mourned for days and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven turn to the person next to you say neighbor tears that transform a man you may be tears that transform I will tell you the series of Kotani and Felix just did was an amazing series a man there were times when I left the series and I was like oh wow ooh whoo went home sore right and then Felix and I would get together during the week and we both cry right because God was working on us then how many of you have ever been in church and you felt that the Word of God goes forth in a sermon and a teaching or a prayer even a song and God just like oh right and tears flow down your eyes and and and you know that if that something has grabs you you know that something has has resonated with you but a lot of times that's where it stops a lot of times it just stops at that initial emotional reaction and I want to tell us today that God is challenging us to have tears that transform us turn your neighbor say neighbor these tears ought to transform me you can't come out of a series like naked and unashamed and hear all of these great gems about relationships and to hear all of these great gems about marriage and hear all of these great gems about being aligned with God and stay the same turn to somebody say guess what you can't stay the same part of our frustration with ourselves is we stay the same we go to the doctor and the doctor says you need to stop eating doughnuts we ignore the doctor we go to Lamar's and we think you're mad when we're out of breath playing with kindergarteners at hoops Scoob hey man we we we have emotional responses to things but we get no transformation because all we've been is emotional journey neighbors say neighbor move beyond emotion two years ago we were we were talking and in our country about Philander Castro we were talking about police killings and we were talking about police being shot in Dallas and everybody was hands up don't shoot and everybody was doing all of these emotional things and and and we're still we're still we're still talking about violence and people being killed and and police officers doing this and and people doing we're still talking about these same things because brothers and sisters we are stuck in a cycle of just emotional responses we're not transforming we'll cry about it we'll get mad about it we'll raise our voices about it we'll Facebook about it but we're not transforming everybody's they transform see when you look at when you look at something let me give you some background first let me give you some background on this text before we jump in because I'm a history nerd about a bit of background on this text disobedience had caused the children of Israel to be where they are let me say that again disobedience had caught this cause the children of Israel to be where they are I say the same thing to us today that disobedience has caused us to be where we are y'all remember when Felix did that did that he said look here is here is sin here's the garden there's the perfect situation and here's where we are in sin right we are we are operating from this paradigm and because we are operating from this paradigm there are things that we are dealing with today simply because we are disobedient remember what said the children of Israel were where they were had been decimated by the Assyrians the Babylonians and the Persians because of disobedience see God was faithful God was faithful to his covenant promises but the children of Israel Israel and Judah they were disobedient and so they found themselves in disarray because they had convinced themselves that we can do it our own way and not God's Way I want to submit that there are some things going on in our lives in our communities in our country because we choose to cry about things but we keep walking in disobedience we we go to the doctor and the doctor tells you your cholesterol is up or your your your blood pressure's upper or you're obese you're overweight and you continue to eat the way you eat you continue not to workout you continue to do all these things thinking that you are magically going to develop a six-pack that through osmosis you can take the exercise tape and put it on top of your head and it's going to go it doesn't work that way I wish it did you wish it did you wish that you could still have your cake and eat it too right with some ice cream on top some vanilla bean are some Moose Tracks yes yeah the children of Israel were where they were because of disobedience the returned exiles had come and they had rebuilt the temple right under zerubabbel and ezra they had come and they had rebuilt the temple but the problem was the wall was still down and with the walls still being down it meant that they were still vulnerable to attack hey man turn your neighbor say neighbor still vulnerable to attack see look look look you can come to church to the temple and you can praise God and and do your thing and cry here but if you go back and you keep living in this paradigm what you are doing is coming to the temple but your wall is still down you are still vulnerable to attack because there's been no transformation in your situation yes the temple was up yes Ezra have rebuilt it but they were still vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy because they were still living in disobedience and we remained vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy because we keep living in disobedience turn a neighbor say neighbor I don't want to be attacked I don't want to be attacked right so so we look at this we look at this text and he says Nehemiah if you go to Nehemiah then that first that first chapter there Nehemiah has some buddies his brother and some friends come back from visiting and look at the text and the words of Nehemiah the son now it happened in the month of his life in the 20th year as I was in Susa the Citadel that Hannah and I one of my brothers came with certain men from Judah and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and who had survived the Exile and concerning Jerusalem and they said to me the remnant there and the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and chained the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its dates are destroyed by fire let me tell you what we have to do first we have to hear the truth come on turn this to my next thing we got to hear the truth what makes all of this sermon work is that you have to open yourself to the reality that there are some truths that we have to hear my buddy Nehemiah was in a very comfortable place in his life Nehemiah was was the cup bearer of the kingdom we're gonna get there later but he was a cup bearer of the king in a very comfortable spot and Nehemiah had to hear some truths that he did not want to hear he said the situation back at home is still as bad as has always been and it wasn't that the wall had just fallen down this thing had been down for some time okay catch that in your life there are some things in your life that did not just happen they have been happening there are some hearts and heart Ike's in your life that did not just happen yesterday but they've been going on year after year after year after year after year and because you choose to walk in disobedience it just continues so here Nehemiah was he he he heard from his brother and he heard from the man who had come back from Judah and nehemiah's response was like all of our responses are when we hear bad news he had an emotional response he had an emotional response and and as he heard it he it says he wept and he cried and and he had all of this emotional response but Nehemiah did not stay stuck in his emotions okay look at this next I couldn't go to the next slide for me please go next one okay so our big our big idea today okay then we need to understand this this is that our tears should transform us right our tears I should cut should our tears over continued in current happenings in our lives of communities must move us to seek God and at collaboratively and courageously with him to bring about transformation in the temporal and the eternal my tears should move me to courageously collaborate with God to bring about transformation in the temporal and the eternal say that with me stay my tears to cause me to courageously collaborate with God to bring about transformation in the temporal and the eternal yeah yeah it's okay to cry please teach your sons that it's okay to cry it's okay to to have an emotional response it's okay to be angry it's okay but we've got to move from that emotion and courageously collaborate with God to change some things in the temporal and the eternal it's not enough just to cry about it it's not enough just to protest about it it's not enough just boast about it we've got to be able to say God let me join you and do something about it we make a lot of emotional noise in the church but there's no doing outside the church amen we do a lot of emotional emoting in our homes but there's not a lot of doing God wants to take our tears today and he wants those tears to be the catalyst for why we courageously collaborate with him to shift things in the temporal and the eternal next slide look look look at look at what me am I did Nehemiah says our tears must first move us to acknowledge pain and emotions the first thing you got to understand is say I'm mad about it just try it you know what you mad about say I'm mad about it right I could go through a list of things that are going on in our country things that are going on in our community things that are going on in your family I'm telling you make it in on the shame gave me a list of things that I'm not happy about with me right and I said I can sit here and be unhappy about those things or I can do something about them there is no point to continue to look in the mirror and not like what you see and not do something about it that's the point to be in a marriage that you are not happy about and not do something about it and I'm not talking about divorce I'm talking about you getting better at you see we've got to first acknowledge the pain and the emotion those are important things I'm hurt I'm upset I'm frustrated I feel down about this I'm under prayer all of those oh I told my kids all times the emotions are from God he gave them to us he wired them in us they are triggers that point us in so many different directions but the trouble about emotions if they are not under the lordship of Jesus Christ those emotions can get us in trouble if I'm just acting emotionally in my flesh I can get in trouble I can't acknowledge the pain I've got to acknowledge the emotions okay turn your neighbor say neighbor the pain is real your emotions are from God okay the pain is real my emotions are from God acknowledge that ok acknowledge that it's ok don't dismiss people who are heard about things that you might not be heard about don't dismiss folks who are not frustrated about things that you're not frustrated about acknowledge their emotions acknowledge their pain but guess what don't stay stuck there this is what happens ok this is how you stay in what I call the hamster wheel okay y'all know the hamster anybody around a hamster or gerbil right that gerbil or that hamster gets in that wheel and what do they just do running and running and and burning all of this energy and if I was in there be sweating up a storm and ain't going nowhere that's what happens when we stay stuck in our pain and our emotions we get on this hamster wheel and all of this energy is being a moat at all of this energy is just just just being just coming out and we aren't getting anywhere and we find ourselves right back at where we have always been because we just stay stuck in the emotions and we stay stuck in the pain the great thing and this thing this is just in this this fourth verse of Nehemiah we learn how to get off the hamster wheel turn to the person next you say hey get off the hamster wheels yeah I like to tell people the reason I don't go to the gym that often is because the treadmills are boring maybe if they had like scenery where you could like to feel like you're going somewhere right that's not the truth right the reason why that's what life feels like when you're just sucking your emotions in your pain you're on a treadmill you're not going anywhere you're not making any progress you sure are tired though you sure are sweating though you sewer film over you sure feel worn out right but you ain't going anywhere next slide he says to us look not only must you only must you acknowledge the pain but he says our tears must move us to align with God in prayer and fasting here we go I'm emotional I am in pain what I must do with that is paint that emotion and take that pain and align it with God say align it with God see I remember in the parklands shooting that just happened and everybody gets on TV and and they start doing this this hashtag of we need more than prayer we need more than prayer you had some religious folks getting up there saying we need more than prayer and I said to myself I said y'all must not understand what prayer is if you need more than prayer I want to know what that is okay because we need prayer we need fasting because those disciplines take my flesh my emotional reactions and they bring them to the feet of God and say God help me understand what you want me to do with this emotion with this pain and without prayer without fasting we act without God's guidance y'all start acting out movies that you saw it's a thin line between love and hate brothers clothes get thrown out of windows and cars get keyed instead oh now that ain't emotion and pain align with God hear what I'm saying we've got to take our pain we gotta take our emotion and we've got to align it with God that's what Nehemiah was doing Nehemiah was look he was devastated by the condition that his people were still in he was devastated that they were still on this hamster wheel of disobedience he was devastated by the fact that yes the temple have you been rebuild but they were still vulnerable to attack because the wall was still down and Nehemiah said I know I'm emotional about this I know I have pain about this so God let me bring it to you so that my neck steps will be steps that are governed by you and not my emotions your emotions will get you in trouble if you have not allowed God to order your steps y'all know how blessed you've been some of y'all work in corporate America and and you started to type that emotional email response or you might have started to young folks text that emotional response and praise God for somebody next to you saying things before you see next right some of the best things that ever happened in my life happened with the delete button amen or the erase button right because yes in the moment I was mad in the moment I had pain and I wanted to bless somebody out but I could take that emotion how to take that pain and say God Here I am I'm upset I'm hurt I'm frustrated and I don't know what to do there's the kicker we have to admit that we don't know what to do god I'm mad about this I'm heard about this this seems bigger than me God what do I do so you take this to God and you do this through prayer and fasting the Bible says it's only there's certain things that only come through prayer and fasting and you sitting there saying I never prayed and I never fasted well that's why you ain't got those things that only come through prayer and fasting those are Christian discipline those are things that we should be doing that should be the natural habit of our life is that when I'm dealing with difficulties in my life that I cannot handle that I cannot figure out my default is to say God y'all know the songwriter said what a friend we have in Jesus all what needless pain we bear all because we will not not we cannot we will not carry everything to God in prayer turn your neighbor say neighbor your emotional you got pain you need to align that with God through prayer and fasting so nehemiah here was dealing with this heartache you go to the next slide Nehemiah was here dealing with this heart I dealing with the situation that his people ran and the amaya said this is too big a job for me when I consider the things that are going on in my life when I consider that I am a husband and on Wednesday I will celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary with my wife excited about that see the luckiest lady on the planet I won't say it at 11 o'clock and she'll be here she will be celebrating 20 years we have five kids right right not consider all this stuff that we're dealing with and I sometimes like god I can't handle this and he says back to me I know you gonna come talk to me about it and I say yeah after I do and after I do and after I do and after I do and all of my after I Do's take me further further away from talking to him about the situation that I'm so stressed about that I'm so in pain about that I'm so emotional about and so because I want to line with him on it I stay on the hamster wheel about it exactly secondly he says well she says all right our our tears must move us to appreciate I love this God positioning okay our tears must move us to appreciate God right I am where I am and from where I am God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that I could ever ask think or imagine turn your neighbor say neighbor I'm in the right space see the enemy wants you to think that you are not where you are you're not in the space that you need to be to change the things that need to be changed he's alive as you read the text as you finish through chapter 1 Nehemiah says his priorities talking to God and at the end of the text he says and I was the cupbearer to the king what did you say you were the cupbearer to the king do you understand the trust that is placed in the cup bearer of the king do you understand the confidence do you understand the relationship that that that the cup bearer has with the king the king is alive because the cup bearer does his job and so the king is grateful to the cup bearer for doing his job because he then has life so God has said to me a mile look I've already placed you where you need to be to get done what needs to get done Amen all you're looking for grass greener and God says you're already where you need to be to do what I need you to do to get done what I need to have done because God has positioned you see me Amaya if you go deeper in the text and you find out who the King stepmom was right y'all know something Esther right and you find out all of these alignments and how God has orchestrated this and you find out that even in our messiness this is my love about God even in my lessee miss God is still causing all things to work together for my good even when I can't see it even when I'm not paying attention God says this may grow ain't gonna get it right he gonna mess this up let me go on over here and do this cuz you know burning he over there I'm gonna get you God I'm gonna get you I'll get you and God and then all of a sudden you walk into something and everything's lined up and you some of y'all may never been there maybe that's an 11 o'clock right you walk into something and you know that when you last week when you was talking about covered by grace boy boy boy right and you know you've been way over here the whole time I'm gonna get to that I'm gonna get to that and then when you finally wake up from crying I didn't already did it he said me and my open up your eyes near mine know where you're at Nehemiah know the connection that I've already made for you Nehemiah know that I have positioned you for such a time as this to do what needs to be done Nehemiah I've got you and God says the same thing to you and I right now he says you're thinking well when I get here when I do that when I get this relationship when I make this amount of money when I went out whatever whatever all this positioning and God says from right where you are at I've positioned you turn your neighbor say neighbor God has positioned me for such a time as this yeah yeah yeah come on shout about that a man thank God about that when you think about the things that you are upset about the things that you are frustrated about in your life and I'm gonna show you something funny I said the other day I was looking at my wallet and you know I've been talking about this health journey on my own and trying to eat healthy and I this thing fell out of my wallet you can't see it that close but I'll tell you what it is this thing fell out of my wallet the other day talking about God positioning and it is an old planet fitness it's the old Planet Fitness membership right so I was like oh and I'm driving down driving down the airport and I look over and I see it's a brand new Planet Fitness and so I call Planet Fitness I said they said oh yeah yeah yeah you're feeling good standing I said okay I see you got you position me to deal with what I need to deal with so right in there I just started praising God and thanking him that then he was working things out when I was like yeah yeah god I'm gonna get today yeah yeah mom I'm gonna eat healthier yeah your mom yeah yeah yeah yeah God would cause things to fall out of your wallet I said I seen that thing in years they read God will cause things to fall out of your wallet to remind you that he has positions you that God has connected you with people in the right places to be able to get the right things done for the glory of God okay turn your neighbor against a neighbor I accept that God has positioned me for such a time as this to get the right things done okay next next next time we must our tears must remind us to act collaboratively and courageously with God right I want to look at look at chapter 2 for me this is a interesting interesting piece here yet I love being courageous about collaborating and being courageous okay here is Nehemiah now let me tell you near my level reads X in the month of Nisan in the 20th year of the king when wine was before him I took up the wine and gave it to the king now I had not been sad in his presence now some people might just skip over that and think that that sentence is not a big deal but it is because you never went in front of a king with your head down and moping because the king took it personal if the king saw your countenance down the king would think that you are making a statement about his reign and such a statement would cost you your life and so me of my aleast leaves this in attacks writes it in his journal and says I had never in the 20th year of his reign in the 20 years that he had been there I had never been before him with my countenance down but something gave him the courage to show his true colors God is saying to you that I'm going to need you to have the courage to walk into spaces that you've never walked in before I'm gonna need you to have the courage to go to places that you've never been before and be who you are no matter the consequences hear it again he is calling you for such a time as this to go into spaces and places and be who he needs you to be no matter the consequences oh I can't talk about Jesus they might let me go he says I need you to walk in that space and I need you to talk about Jesus I need you he might not invite me to the barbecue they they might not invite me to the to that to the let out party they might not whatever whatever whatever right he said I need you to walk into that space collaborating with me with courage and know that I have you look at it look at this as their text the Kings cussing him why is your face sad seeing you are not sick this is nothing but sadness of heart and me it says Nehemiah says I was very afraid I said to the king let the king live forever wise just not my face be sad when the city the place that my father's get graves lives in ruins and it's gates have been destroyed and then the king said to me I love this what are you requesting see there are some things that are not happening in our lives because we won't walk in collaboration and encourage with God we are so afraid of what this Persian King and what whoever your Persian King is we are so afraid of what they might say and what they might do that we have not realized that the hands of the king are in my hand the heart of the king is in the hands of God and God can turn that thing which ever way he wants to turn it so here we are afraid to walk into spaces here we are afraid to walk boldly like we know who our daddy is here we are afraid to speak up and to speak out and the king's heart has already been turns yeah you'll get you'll get that later in your life that the King's heart has already been turned in your favor it keeps going on and he says then the King said what are you requesting and so Nehemiah says I prayed to the God of heaven and he said to the king if it pleases the King if your servant has found favor in your sight and then send me to Judah to the city of my father's graves that I may rebuild it and the King said to me the Queen sitting beside him how long will you be gone and will you return and so it pleased the king to send me and he had given him after I've given him a time and the king study and he said to the king if it pleases the King let letters be given to me as I as he approaches the governor so he was saying here look Here I am and I'm scared because I've never walked in this place before Here I am and I know that that you don't walk in front of a king like this and me and Maya chose to do with me and Maya chose to boldly do it and look what happened because the heart of the king was in the hands of God and God was already working this thing I remembered he was positioned God was already working this things out and remember who this who the stepmother who remember all this influence that God had already sealed the ground and God already knew that Nehemiah was gonna come into the court that day God already knew that me and Maya was gonna make the request God already knew God already knew God already knew and I'll Nehemiah to do is walk in there and understand that God had him and it's the same thing in your life today God has you God has you a man God has you and God wants you to exercise the courage to collaborate with him knowing that he has you I know you may not have walked this way before I know that that the mountain may seem uncomfortable I know that that your your relationship might be in a difficult place I know that raising those kids may be hard right now I know I know I know but I know that God has you my grandfather used to tell me when I was growing up he says look when you're going through difficulties in life just get some sleep I said pops if things are difficult and I'm going through some stuff she might be pacing the floor should not be worried she's nobody trying to write out the solutions and and map out the plan and and all this law he says no get some sleep and I said pops what are you talking about he says yes because if you believe that God has you and he neither slumbers nor sleeps no point in both of y'all staying awake a man so he says when life gets tough when things get difficult when you are in places that you've never been before he says sometimes just go to sleep and know that God's got you so you and I need to understand that we have emotions we have pain we have to take that emotions we have to take that pain we have to align it with God we have to say God take my emotion God take my pain tell me what you want done with it and when we take that emotion and we take that pain and we align it with God God then says okay I need you to pray on edge of the fast I need you to hear I need you to hear from me I think God says I need you to do it to me I need you to be courageous I need you to to know that I've got you Nehemiah at the end of this all some of you who studied the text understand that in 52 days they rebuilt the wall they rebuilt the wall because he chose to not just be emotional about it he chose not to be just emotional about it he chose to give it to God and I'm saying to you today you might be emotional you might be in pain nothing is going to change in your life until you give that to God those tears that you're crying are not going to transform you until you give that thing to God the tears that you're crying about your marriage not nothing's gonna change to give that to God the tears that you are crying in your singleness nothing's going to change until you give that to God the tears that were crying about our community young people being killed 17 15 12 years old nothing is going to change do we take that emotion we take that pain and we give it to God turn to the person next to you say hey I know you might have emotions I know you might be in pain right now but give that to God and let God transform it father we thank you for the word we thank you for the word today that says you want to take our tears and you want to transform us you want to take those tears and you want to transform us you want to change us you want to get us off the hamster wheel and you want to get us moving in the direction you would have us to go so god I pray that you've moved on someone's heart someone's mind today who says I'm tired of just crying I'm tired of just feeling angry I'm tired of feeling pain I'm tired of being frustrated I want to move in alignment with God I want to act with God and I want to see transformation in my life in my home and in my community so today God we pray that you would draw with loving-kindness we pray today God that as as people might come forth today for prayer at the altar today that they would come yes with tears yes with pain but more powerfully ready to be transformed by you thank you for your faithfulness thank you for your faithfulness in Jesus name why don't we stand and if the day you were here and you you feel a call of God to say look I want to move beyond my tears I want to be transformed I want to be changed I want my marriage to be changed I want my relationship with my children to be changed I I want my community to be changed I'm calling you for today come forward today and pray and and and allow folks to to minister with you and to stand with you today believing that those tears have purpose those tears are the catalyst that God wants to use to move you to be where he wants you to be doing what he wants you to do I know that God loves you I know that God cares about you and I know that today God wants to do a new thing in your life I know that today that that God wants you off the hamster wheel God sees you tired God sees you frustrated God sees you weary and he says come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my yoke is easy and my burden lair light these these your tears this is come on bring them to me here's your hurt this is come on bring it to me he sees your pain he says bring it to me he sees that you were upset about situations he says bring it to me raise your name yogurt bring it to up today allow God to transform you